Keen to learn more about James Garner? Well, we spoke to Forest Fan Base to do exactly that ahead of a huge summer for the Englishman.
After an excellent season for Garner, which culminated in Premier League promotion, who better to speak to than someone who watched the 21-year-old every single week? That’s where Matt from Forest Fan Base comes in.
First of all, congratulations on your promotion back to the Premier League. That must have been a wonderful day for all you Forest fans?!
Matt: Really was. An awful game to watch but a perfect result and day out. Without doubt the awakening of a sleeping giant.
Now down to business. James Garner. Can you remember how you felt when he signed on loan?
Matt: Resigning him this season I felt was a little bit unimaginative and really done as much to pacify the fans as anything. He was one of the few bright lights in an awful Hughton team at that point so more a reflection on him and the club than Garner.
Were you impressed with Garner over the course of the season? Just how important was he?
Matt: Forest have two regular, bread and butter midfielders in Colback and Yates and Garner seems fairly similar and at the start of the season, well at least after Cooper came in, he was slightly the odd man out.
The other two were playing exceptionally well and he was below par and behind them. His form has gradually improved though. It was helped by Colback being moved to cover left-back to remove the choice having to be made. By that stage, it was Hobson’s choice really – after that he’s gone from strength to strength.
As someone who has watched him regularly, what’s his best trait as a footballer?
Matt: He’s got a lot of energy and is very ’neat and tidy’. Always gives 100% in a midfield two and also very consistent.
And what could he work on?
Matt: Until working with Steve Cooper I felt he was easy to play through although that’s part of his game that’s improved dramatically. We were holding Fulham fairly well, despite being a goal down, when he replaced Colback for example and then we shipped 3 goals.
I don’t think that would happen now, you can see him being seasoned and learning. The other thing is his decision making in the final third. Again he’s improved and maybe it’s not really his game but he does sometimes do the wrong pass to kill momentum.
Do you think he’s good enough to make it at Manchester United?
Matt: I think if the club does another ‘Class of ’92’ project and is prepared to be patient he definitely has the ability to come through but I think in reality, at such a big club, you’re probably always going to be looking to a Pogba-type character to play so I’m not sure there’s the time and space there to allow him to develop.
Would you take him back again next year if he’s available? How about a permanent deal as he seemed to love his time with Forest?
Matt: He’s been a joy to have at the club and a wonderful team man. The type any club would welcome, so we’d definitely warmly welcome him back and I think his hope to succeed at Old Trafford is only slightly greater than his joy to play football with us.
He’s already played a lot more than many of our permanent signings anyway but if things play out that there’s a chance to re-sign him on either basis I think the club would explore the options pretty aggressively as he’s proven his worth.
Whatever happens, I hope he continues to play and develop as a player. He’s doing it all right on and off the pitch and has earned the respect of his teammates and supporters at Forest. His loan to us has been an excellent piece of business for all concerned which is all too rare.
Thanks again Matt, this is wonderful insight on a player who we United fans have high expectations for!
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