Manchester United youngster James Garner has continued to impress on loan at Nottingham Forest this season, scoring in the club’s Championship win over Bristol City on Saturday.
Garner has played regularly for Forest since a loan at Watford was cut short midway through last season following a change of manager at Vicarage Road and losing his place there. That initial short-term deal was then turned into a season-long loan for the 2021/22 campaign.
Garner has played in 28 of the 29 Championship games Forest have played since he joined in late August. Of those, he has started 23 of them and has started every Championship fixture since late November, thriving under the guidance of manager Steve Cooper.
Forest have recovered from an awful start to the season that cost former boss Chris Hughton his job in September and are only three points off the Championship playoff places.
The midfielder, who will turn 21 next month, will have had two full seasons of good Championship experience by the time he returns to Old Trafford this summer. With United in need of reinforcements in the centre of the pitch, he could stake a claim for a first-team place in pre-season.
Garner made his senior debut for United aged 17 in February 2019, having had his maiden experience with the first-team during pre-season the previous summer. He went on to add six more appearances during the 2019/20 campaign, before embarking on his Championship loans.
Anthony Elanga has shown in recent weeks that there is a pathway into the United first-team for a talented home-grown player. The Swede has impressed under the tutelage of Ralf Rangnick and developing young talents remains a core part of the club’s philosophy.
United could move for a central midfielder in the transfer market in the summer, with Ruben Neves and Yves Bissouma both on their radar during the summer, but with doubts over whether Paul Pogba will stay, Juan Mata also set to leave and Nemanja Matic playing only sparingly, there is likely to be need for more than just one or even two new additions.
Garner is proving that he deserves the chance to at least ‘audition’ for one of those roles.
Source : 90min