Nottingham Forest Under-18s continued their fine run of form yesterday with a 3-2 win over Blackburn Rovers. This time it was Joe Gardner who highlighted his brilliance and importance to Warren Joyce’s team.

Forest left it left to secure their latest win. A last-gasp Jamie McDonnell goal earned all three points; with Gardner getting his name on the score sheet on two occasions.

With Forest boasting some real attacking talent, Gardner’s name perhaps hasn’t come up all too often during the 2021/22 campaign.

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He is a versatile winger who has been forced into playing a waiting game. Jack Nadin’s recent injury has seen Joyce shuffle his pack, with Gardner entering the fray.

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Yesterday he took his tally of goals for the season up to four and he’s a player who looks like he could improve in the coming years.

A remarkable run of form has seen Joyce’s team fly up the Premier League under-18 table. It only seems like a few months ago since the club was languishing towards the bottom; although yesterday’s win puts them fifth.

Gardner has played in a number of positions this season and he will hope to continue in the side ahead of the FA Youth Cup Final against Manchester United.

The future looks bright for Forest and for Gardner

Gardner hasn’t been one of the names constantly mentioned this year. Detlef Esapa Osong has taken that mantle, with Dale Taylor and Nadin also hot property.

The future is really bright on Trentside though, with many youngsters proving their worth to the club in recent weeks.

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Gardner’s versatility could be a key attribute for him as he progresses through the ranks and adding goals to his game will certainly help him.

Yesterday against Blackburn he was sensational. That won’t have gone unnoticed in the eyes of Joyce and he could keep his place for the foreseeable.

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