James Garner is enjoying the challenge of UEFA Youth League football as he continues to make a real impression during his time as a first-year scholar at Manchester United.
The teenager produced a mature performance against Brodarac in midweek, operating with intelligence and diligence in central midfield on the 3G surface in Belgrade.
United's 2-0 triumph set up a round of 16 tie with Liverpool and Garner is already relishing the opportunity to further his footballing education with a knockout match at Tranmere Rovers' Prenton Park, close to where he was born.
“It was a hard game,” he told ManUtd.com, after helping the Reds overcome Brodarac.
“We're not really used to playing on astroturf and had to get to grips with the pitch.
"We knew they would be strong and up for it so we went into the game feeling ready and matched them. Honestly, I think it was one of the hardest games I'll play this season. It was a tough place to go to and a difficult surface, with the wind and the crowd and everything. It was tough and we're not going to be playing these types of teams every weekend so we'll learn from those games and take it into the [domestic] league.
“I think if you're playing different styles, you can develop things in your own game. So it'll be good to play against another team and we know it's going to be a tough task as you only come up against the best teams when you're down to the last 16. I've played against the top European clubs since I was eight or nine, so I am used to it, but I'm getting into men's football now and it's a huge change.”
Garner has been rewarded for his fine form with another England Under-17 call-up for the Algarve Tournament, which is currently taking place in Portugal.
“I think the first year is very difficult [in the Under-18s],” he added.
“For the first half of the season, I think I've done well in getting a regular amount of games. The team has done well and we're top of the league so everything is going great.
"I've got a tournament coming up in the Algarve against Portugal, Germany and the Netherlands so I'm looking forward to that. Hopefully, I can play in all three games and get some minutes under my belt. It does make it a lot easier to go into the England squads when I've got two of my mates [Ethan Laird and Mason Greenwood] with me as well.
Unfortunately, United full-back Laird has been forced to withdraw from the latest England squad due to injury.