Juan Mata says Manchester United youngster James Garner needs confidence and trust to be shown in him if he is to reach his potential and become ‘a very good midfielder’.
The United youngster is currently out on loan with Championship side Watford as he looks to make his breakthrough into senior men’s football, having featured sporadically for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the first-team.
Speaking earlier in the season Garner hailed Mata for mentoring him during his development at Old Trafford and now the Spaniard has returned the favour with his own praise for the teenager.
“He is a good friend, that’s why he speaks so well of me!” Mata told United Review. “I always thought he is one of the players who, if he keeps going and keeps improving, in the way he was doing in the academy, he can be a very, very good midfielder.
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Manchester United ground out a 1-0 win over West Brom to finally notch a victory at home in the Premier League this season.
It wasn’t pretty but it means two successive wins for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, who have to balance league and Champions League commitments over a busy period in the coming weeeks.
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“I really like him; the way he plays on the ball, his cleverness, his way of looking forward, looking for a pass and also his attitude off the ball. So, whenever he was here, I always tried to encourage him and said what I believed he could be as a player.
“I always tried to motivate him and give him confidence as I think, when you’re that age, you need confidence and trust – not only from the manager but also from your team-mates.
“I wish him all the best at Watford and I am sure he will do well. He’s a great guy and a very good player, as I’ve said before, because he keeps improving every day.“