This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more
James Garner stole the headlines for Nottingham Forest over the Easter weekend, helping the Reds put six points on the board.
The Manchester United loanee continues to impress under Chris Hughton, scoring the game’s only goal in a 1-0 win over Cardiff City on Good Friday.
On Monday, he produced another impressive individual display in the middle of the park, as Forest made it back-to-back wins with a 3-1 win over QPR.
But the main talking point from the weekend was the goal he scored against the R’s. With his side already leading 2-0 entering 70 minutes, Garner placed the ball down for a free-kick 10 yards from the corner flag, before arrowing a teasing delivery into the far corner.
It rounded off an excellent weekend for the Reds, and another fine performance for Garner as he continues to thrive out on loan.
As the midfielder begins to add more goals to his game, here, we discuss the chances of Forest getting him back next season…
I don’t think so.
The only way I can see Forest getting Garner back is if Man United feel that sending him elsewhere won’t give them the same sort of guarantee in terms of playtime.
Clearly, he’d be a key player if he returned to the City Ground for 2021/22 and a move to a club competing at a higher level may mean he doesn’t feature quite as much.
That said, the way he’s performed this season, he could certainly be featuring regularly in the Premier League and there seems to be interest from clubs at that level already.
A top tier loan would suit Man United, so even if Forest do hold hopes of battling for promotion it’ll likely be without Garner.
I think it will be incredibly difficult for Nottingham Forest to get James Garner back.
The midfielder has been outstanding so far this term and with that I’d expect him to move himself up the football pyramid as a result.
The 20-year-old has the potential to be one of the best in the Premier League and with that he needs to keep pushing himself.
A first team breakthrough at Manchester United is probably unlikely but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him joining a top flight club on loan for the season as he looks to step up to life at the top.
Garner has clearly enjoyed life at the City Ground and so I completely understand why Forest would be keen to bring him back next term.
But unless they can convince him that they’re going to be challenging at the top of the Championship for promotion then I’d be very surprised if he didn’t have more attractive offers from the Premier League or the top of the Championship.
Nottingham Forest quiz: Can you get 19/19 on our bumper Easter quiz?
At the moment, I would be shocked if Forest managed to get him back on loan.
There is so just so much to like about Garner. He’s an all-round midfielder who is solid defensively but also excellent at driving forward and joining in with the attack. His passing range is tremendous, and as his goal against QPR showed, his quality on the ball is just sublime.
By the time this season is over, he will have made 40 appearances in the Championship and excelled at this level, and I think the next step for him is the Premier League. Even if that’s not with United, I think a loan move to a lower-half Premier League side would be key.
But another full year in the Championship could also have its benefits for James Garner as United may not want to rush him, and if he does return to the second tier, Forest would be at the front of the queue.
It would be the coup of all coups.