Nottingham Forest managed to beat Barnsley last night but on-loan Manchester United midfielder James Garner is giving Steve Cooper a big conundrum.

The 20-year-old was one of Forest’s primary targets in the summer. The club had to wait until late in the window to get their man but it was viewed as an important addition.

Last season, the Red Devils gem scored four goals in 20 appearances for the Reds. He became an instant hit with the fan base and helped the club to Championship safety.

Barnsley v Nottingham Forest - Sky Bet Championship
(Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

So far, he’s yet to hit the ground running. He hasn’t claimed a goal contribution and has looked somewhat off the pace in the seven games he’s featured in.

This is only a small concern. Although with each passing game it will become a bigger issue for Cooper who must try and address his form.

As a young player, it’s only natural that he’ll go through phases. With Forest languishing near the bottom of the Championship, however, they need him firing.

Garner is highly rated by Manchester United. They view Forest as the ideal club for his development and that should mean something. It certainly shouldn’t see fans dismissing him after just seven games back at the club.


Other players vying to take Forest shirt away from Garner

Garner wouldn’t be the first player to underachieve during a second loan spell at Forest. Gary Gardner and Adlene Guedioura suffered a similar fate, although both were worse players than Garner

Cooper is clearly a big fan of the midfielder. He did try to sign him for Swansea before he joined Forest after all. He will be aware that he has lots of options for places in midfield, however.

Nottingham Forest v Millwall - Sky Bet Championship
(Photo by Jon Hobley/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Jack Colback came on against Barnsley and did well, whilst Braian Ojeda is edging closer to making the Forest squad. There is also Cafu to consider. He’s out of favour right now but did strike up a decent partnership with Garner last season.

Cooper has vast experience of working with younger players. As a result, Garner perhaps has the perfect head coach to see him through this blip.

Forest fans would be wise not to be too harsh on Garner just yet. He is young and does deserve a bit of time to get going.

Cooper has only just arrived at the City Ground and he must now get to work on cracking his first Forest conundrum.

Have something to tell us about this article?