Steve Cooper has completed his first day as the Nottingham Forest head coach. He arrives on a two-year deal and Manchester United loanee James Garner could be set for an immediate starring role.

The 20-year-old checked in at the City Ground during the summer. He was a revelation on loan during the second half of 2020/21 and Forest managed to get him back.

Things could have turned out differently though. Prior to him signing for the Reds, Garner was targeted by Cooper who was keen to see the Manchester United man join him at Swansea.

Swansea City Training
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The midfielder did have designs on returning to Forest though and by the time he checked in on Trentside, Cooper was long gone at the Liberty Stadium.


Garner has played four times for Forest since returning from Old Trafford. He hasn’t really got up to speed just yet but supporters will give him some benefit of the doubt.

As a midfielder in a Chris Hughton system the ball often bypassed him. Now, under Cooper, he will surely play a starring role, given that the 41-year-old rated him enough to try and get him in the summer.

Will Garner see his role change much under Cooper at Forest?

You have to say probably not. If anything his job should become easier. Cooper is likely to stick with the 3-4-4 that worked so well for Steven Reid in Saturday’s win over Huddersfield.

On Saturday, Garner attempted more passes than any other Forest player and his confidence could rise in a system that sees the team play football on the floor.

Huddersfield Town v Nottingham Forest - Sky Bet Championship
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Cooper is an expert when it comes to getting the very best out of young players and Garner could be the latest to benefit from his coaching.

Although the player’s long-term future is seen at Old Trafford, Forest will hope he can enjoy a strong season during 2021/22.

Under Cooper, he could thrive and the new Forest boss and Garner could prove to be a match made in heaven.

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