Nottingham Forest promotion hero James Garner made his maiden start for Everton last night – and things didn’t go according to plan! The Toffees were dumped out of the Carabao Cup, losing 4-1 at Bournemouth.
The 21-year-old signed for Everton in the summer for £15 million. He ended a long-standing association with Manchester United in the quest to secure regular first-team football.
Garner was brilliant for Forest during the 2021/22 campaign. The club managed to get him back for a second loan spell after he starred under Chris Hughton during the second half of the season previous.
During Forest’s promotion-winning season, he scored four goals and claimed seven assists. He was also a regular in the England under-21 ranks during his time playing regularly on Trentside.
It was unfortunate that the Reds couldn’t land him permanently. Erik ten Hag spent the summer suggesting he’d keep Garner, only to make him available for transfer when Forest had already assembled their midfield.
Last night Garner was given a chance to impress. It’s fair to say that he showed signs of rustiness and that’s perhaps to be expected given that he’s yet to start a Premier League game for Everton.
The ex-Forest loan star wasn’t at his usual best. Who Scored showed that he touched the ball just 41 times and finished with a pass-success ratio of just 78%.
Garner was tasked with doing some defensive duties last night and he’s accustomed to that. He made three tackles but was hooked off after just 51 minutes during the League Cup clash.
Garner made maiden Everton start but struggled
The player will have been disappointed with his efforts. He’d have been desperate to prove his worth but now a starting berth in the Premier League doesn’t look likely in the final weekend before the World Cup break.
Garner got a strong taste of regular action during his time at Forest. He was a consistent performer in Steve Cooper’s team and the Reds head coach really managed to get a tune out of him.
The Reds have now moved on but Garner remains in folklore. He was Forest’s set-piece specialist and will forever be remembered for creating the goal that won the Reds promotion to the Premier League.
Garner will face a big World Cup break. He will hope to come back with a point to prove to Frank Lampard, with his sights set on becoming a frequent performer in the Premier League.