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Guy Moussi sends message to James Garner amid lack of Nottingham Forest opportunities

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Ex-Nottingham Forest midfielder Guy Moussi has told his former side’s loanee James Garner to focus on his game to deal with the weight of expectation surrounding him, speaking on Nottinghamshire Live’s Garibaldi Red Podcast.

The 20-year-old, who impressed during the first half of last season on loan at Watford, returned to parent club Manchester United in the winter to be sent back out to Nottingham Forest and was one of the first names on the teamsheet under Chris Hughton.

During that first spell at the City Ground, he made an impressive 24 league appearances and looked as though he would be a regular starter elsewhere when his loan spell came to an end in May.

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Much to the delight of many Forest fans who had seen him in action, he returned to the club on a second loan spell in August for the season after signing a new deal at Manchester United, fending off interest from Championship rivals Reading and others in their pursuit.

He picked up from where he left off in the East Midlands, being a regular starter once again under former boss Hughton despite Forest’s poor form, but has been put on the bench by new manager Steve Cooper in certain games.

This has been due to Ryan Yates and Jack Colback’s much-improved partnership at the heart of midfield since the Welshman took over – and with this – Garner has failed to make the same impact he did last term.

Guy Moussi, a former midfielder who once plied his trade with the Reds, spoke about the 20-year-old’s predicament on the Garibaldi Red Podcast and said (quotes via Nottinghamshire Live): “Your first season you have to prove yourself. In your mind that’s where you’re starting from. You play the first game and it’s good and so is the next one and the next one.

“Now there is a difference, because when you come back, in your mind you are thinking about the season before and you were playing well.

“Sometimes you have expectations where you think ‘ok, I’ll be in the starting XI because I’ve done this for the club’ but it’s a new season, a new beginning.

“Sometimes this is the hard part. When you come here for the first time you have to make people respect your quality and want you to play.

“When you come back it’s a different mindset. Now people expect you to always perform well. When he first came maybe we thought he’s a youngster it’s ok. Now everyone has an expectation of him.

“This is the hard part so he has to focus on his game to bring back his belief. He has to work to be in the starting XI and take it with both hands to move on next time he gets a chance.”

The Verdict:

How successful the remainder of Garner’s loan spell will be under Cooper will depend on two different things. Firstly, how much time he gets to impress on the pitch. That might be down to his manager, but the midfielder needs to show why he should be in the starting lineup every week.

Secondly, his mindset will be crucial. After impressing at Watford and Forest last term, his fortunes this season have been unexpected, and he certainly wouldn’t have expected to be behind Yates in the pecking order considering the amount of criticism the latter received under Hughton.

Forest might be on an exciting path now under a young but capable manager – but Garner needs to show the desire Cooper craves and the resilience to fight back after falling behind Colback and Yates in his first-team plans.

Parent club United do have the option to recall him which may allow him to return to Old Trafford and go to another club in the Championship to start every week, but many people would see this as the midfielder taking the easy way out.

Now he’s settled in the East Midlands and fully integrated into life at the City Ground, now is the time for him to keep plugging away. He still has plenty of time to reassert himself as a regular starter.


A 21-year-old Reading FC fan and writer who graduated from the University for the Creative Arts in the summer with a degree in Journalism and Media Production. Other topics written about include politics, mental health and education.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Guy Moussi sends message to James Garner amid lack of Nottingham Forest opportunities

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