Nottingham Forest fans were crying out for the signing of talented Manchester United midfielder James Garner during the summer.

Last season, he spent the second half of the campaign on loan at the City Ground; scoring four goals in 20 appearances and largely proving impressive.

During 2021/22 he’s not quite had the same impact. With fans back in stadiums, Garner hasn’t quite scaled the heights which he did last season on the banks of the River Trent.

The 20-year-old has made 12 appearances for the Reds since returning for a second spell. He is yet to claim a goal contribution in front of fans and some are concerned.

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


In recent weeks, Garner has found himself on the bench, with Jack Colback regaining a place in midfield alongside Ryan Yates.

Last night he was thrown back into the spotlight though, with Steve Cooper handing him a start against Sheffield United.

It’s fair to say that he didn’t do too bad. There wasn’t a significant improvement, although some statistics did showcase optimism.

Who Scored show that Garner attempted 12 crosses into the box last night. Although several eluded players, some of his deliveries were telling and on another day might have reaped goals.

He also attempted five long balls and that is one attribute that he was really good at during last season under Hughton.

Garner also made 32 passes and that proved three more than Yates who played alongside him in the middle of the park.

The United youngster also made two key passes, which proved the most of any Reds performer during the 90 minutes.

Can Garner kick on at Forest?

That will certainly be the aim. United won’t take any pleasure in seeing him on the fringes and he will want to now ensure he stays in the team.

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

On the night, Garner was given the Man of the Match accolade by the sponsors. That was a tad harsh on Djed Spence who was head and shoulders above any other Forest performer.

This was a step in the right direction though and the challenge for Garner is to now really kick on and showcase why United hold him in such high regard.

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