Nottingham Forest loanee James Garner doesn’t want to be sat on the sidelines next term ahead of a likely return to parent side Manchester United at the end of the season, according to Dean Jones who spoke to Football League World.
The 21-year-old has been an integral figure for the Reds under Steve Cooper during this campaign, despite failing to establish himself as one of the first names on the teamsheet in the early stages of the season.
Becoming a key cog in Forest’s machine after that, he has been able to build on the work he did with the East Midlands outfit last term but has taken his game to a new level during 2021/22 with four goals and five assists in 34 league appearances.
Quiz: What club do these 25 players from the Nottingham Forest 2016/17 squad play for now?
Not only has he shone in the league – but also in the FA Cup with impressive performances against the likes of Arsenal, Leicester City and Liverpool on live TV only going on to raise his profile further, with Martin Keown just one of multiple pundits to laud his display against the Foxes in the early stages of February.
Not looking as though he will be coming out of the starting lineup soon barring an injury or suspension, he looks set to go back to United with real momentum under his belt with his loan side closing in on securing a top-six place.
Ralf Rangnick revealed last week that he was planning to watch the midfielder in more depth in the coming weeks, perhaps with a view to recommending his successor to include him in the first team next season.
However, reporter Jones had a clear warning for the German on the midfielder’s stance, delivering an update as he said: “Garner’s having a great time this season and he doesn’t want to be on the fringes anywhere else at the moment.
“He’s showed his value and he wants to kick on next season and be a big part of a team wherever that is. Who knows, it could yet be Forest.”
Garner should be looking to push for as much game time as possible because at 21, that’s the only way he will improve further and fulfil the great potential he has, continuing to thrive and get better under Cooper.
He’s way past playing youth football now so he either has to force his way into the first team at Old Trafford or he needs to make a permanent move away – because he has far too much potential not to be in action regularly.
However, he could face a difficult decision in terms of which destination to choose next. The midfielder will be keen to test himself in the Premier League and he has probably earned that opportunity after putting in some magnificent displays in the second tier this year.
But if Forest fail to win promotion this term, he faces the awkward option between taking the step down to the second tier again or not being under the guidance of Cooper who has probably played a big part in enhancing his game.
If United sanction another move away this summer, this is something he will probably have to weigh up with both Forest and teams in the top flight likely to come in for him when the summer window opens.