This piece is part of a new feature, where here at Nottingham Forest News we will reflect and mark the performances of our squad from the Championship campaign that recently concluded.

Next up we dip into the midfield ranks and look at the Manchester United man who lit up the City Ground on loan.

James Garner was arguably Forest’s bright spark during an otherwise bleak campaign.

He joined on loan in January, having spent the first half of the season with Watford.

Garner Forest
Garner in action for Forest; Photo; Alex Burstow; Getty Images

The 20-year-old was impressive from the very first game he played and enjoyed 19 appearances in the Reds team.

Already, supporters are keen to see him arrive back for a second spell and he quickly became a fan favourite.

The United starlet looks set for a bright future and we take an in-depth look at his time on Trentside.

What did Garner do well at Forest?

His passing radar really is a sight for sore eyes.

He proved a superb presence in the midfield engine room and could play simple balls or zip cross-field passes with relative ease.

Garner got Forest moving the ball forwards at a far quicker rate and that helped during the second half of the season.

He also scored four goals during his time at Forest. His first coming against fierce rivals Derby during a 1-1 draw at Pride Park.

Garner then scored in both Easter games; away at Cardiff and at home to QPR.

He did save his best for last though, scoring a stunning long-range effort on the final day of the season.

Garner worked hard and shone head and shoulders above any other Forest midfielder.

 

Where can Garner improve?

There really isn’t a lot to say here.

Garner still lacks some experience but 40 games in the second tier during 2020/21 will have certainly helped.

Garner’s weakness isn’t really evident and particularly at Championship level, he is accomplished.

Perhaps Garner himself will feel his decision-making in certain areas of the pitch need some brushing up.

It’s fair to say, he could perhaps score more goals too.

Those are minor discrepancies though and the Manchester United man looks a complete midfielder.

Summary

In an otherwise drab season, Garner was excellent and captured the hearts of the Forest faithful.

He came in at a time when the Reds looked void of ideas when it came to moving the ball in midfield.

He never shirked, however, and showed maturity way beyond his tender years.

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Garner shone for Forest; Photo; Jon Hobley; MI News; NurPhoto; Getty Images

As Forest’s experienced players went AWOL, Garner was the one who typically shone to the fore with each passing week.

Plenty of supporters would relish the chance to have him back at the City Ground for 2021/22.

Forest will hold talks with Manchester United and landing him for a second loan would be a real coup.

Season rating: 9

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