After Nottingham Forest’s drab 0-0 draw with Barnsley at the City Ground in January, it was clear to see that one thing was lacking. Creativity.
The Reds were struggling for goals and struggling to create any real chances, as both sides played out a goalless draw on Trentside.
Watching on from the stands, with his signing still not yet announced by the club, was James Garner.
Garner has made such a positive impact since arriving at the City Ground in January. He spent the first half of the season on loan at Watford, but Manchester United hold him in high regard, so much so, that they recalled him despite having played 21 times, and sent him to Forest with a view to him getting more minutes under his belt.
As you can see from some of the responses below, fans were delighted when some young blood was added to a struggling midfield.
Welcome James, get stuck in lad give your all . UUUUU REDSSSS
— Midlands red (@wykesdarren) January 30, 2021
Please be good. Can’t handle league 1. All the best.
— James Taylor (@jtweets92) January 30, 2021
What a signing
— Owen (@NFFC_owen) January 30, 2021
Welcome to the mad house James. I hope you don't enjoy playing football, if you do you're at the wrong club.
— #HughtonOut (@4evaNFFC) January 30, 2021
Garner has easily been one of Forest’s standout performers since signing on the dotted line in January.
The midfielder has made 12 appearances for the Reds, making 11 starts and playing nearly every minute of every game he has started from the off.
The 20-year-old has thrived in more of a deep-lying role alongside Cafu, but when playing alongside Ryan Yates, he has been allowed to push forward and add to the attack.
He may not have a huge amount of goals and assists, but he is a player who makes the hard stuff look so easy. He breaks up play and recycles possession well, which is something that has been missing since Ben Watson left the club last summer.
According to the Athletic, United are willing to let Garner leave on loan again this summer, but they would prefer him to test himself in the Premier League.
Forest fans will be disappointed by that news, but those fans will also agree with the decision. By the time this season has finished, Garner will have made around 40 appearances in the Championship, and has more than proved his class this term.