The midfielder drew attention in his second loan game with Forest and played a crucial role in the 1-0 win over Huddersfield Town in the Championship play-off final at Wembley
Video not available
James Garner has said goodbye in style by helping Nottingham Forest secure a return to the Premier League.
The Manchester United midfielder came on a second loan earlier in the season and has blinded in the engine room. On Sunday, Garner played a starring role as Forest beat Huddersfield Town 1-0 in the Championship play-off final at Wembley Stadium.
He played a big role in the only goal of the game when his teasing, curled cross was diverted into his own net by Huddersfield defender Levi Colwill. That proved the difference as Forest sealed a notable climb after bottoming out when manager Steve Cooper arrived in September.
They will now play top-flight football for the first time in this century, having not done so since the 1998/99 season. Garner’s future remains unclear as his second loan spell is now over but his parents’ club have a new boss at the helm.
Erik ten Hag will no doubt examine all the options at his disposal to help the club recover after a campaign of horrors. And there’s speculation that Garner could well be a part of it.
Can Garner be a key player for United next season? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Speaking on the matchday programme, the 21-year-old said of his second loan deal: “The whole idea of a loan deal is to show everyone what you can do, get better and put yourself in the best possible position to come back to your original club.
“I don’t know what that will be at the moment but I feel like I gave myself the best possible chance to go in and do my best.
“I came to Forest when they were still at the bottom of the league but playing week after week was really an advantage. The general feeling around the club, the staff, the fans – everyone associated with Forest made me feel like a welcome day-to-day one.
“I’ve developed a lot as a player. Everyone says that this league is probably one of the toughest in the world. You learn a lot by playing against good teams and seeing a lot of good fights. I’ve also been alongside teammates who have Played in the Premier League and they gave me a lot of advice so I’m happy to have had that opportunity and it’s definitely made me good for the future.”
Garner has nine assists in the Championship this season and his next step looks almost certain to be playing in the top flight, although whether he plays with United, Forest or neither remains to be seen.
Cooper was asked after the game if he would be interested in taking the midfielder back next season, but didn’t mention anything having to do with next year. Instead, he praised the contribution of Garner and fellow loanees like Keinan Davis and Djed Spence.