James Garner enjoyed the best game of his second loan spell at Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
The Manchester United youngster turned in a match-winning display to help Forest beat Peterborough 2-0 in a Championship clash.
Garner scored the opening goal before providing the assist for Forest’s second to wrap up the win.
This was Garner’s first goal of the season and his first assist. This could be just what he needs to kick on after a difficult few months.
The change came with Garner playing in a more forward number 10 role behind striker Lewis Grabban, rather than playing as one of the two deeper midfielders.
This allowed him to get forward more and show his attacking qualities and the tactical switch paid off.
Plenty of time to make an impact
Garner arrived back at Forest amid high expectation from their supporters after a strong loan at the end of last season.
He probably did not get as many chances in Manchester United’s pre-season as he would have hoped for, and it’s tough to know whether being back at Forest was a move he was truly happy for.
When he did arrive back at the City Ground, Garner joined a team in freefall. Forest began the season on a losing streak and manager Chris Hughton was promptly fired.
New manager Steve Cooper came in, and Garner has taken his time to really make his presence felt. He has been in and out of the side, making 11 starts and making five appearances from the bench.
Forest’s victory takes them up to 13th place and now a play-off spot is possible for a side which looked like they may be battling relegation at the start of the season.
Garner was delighted to make an impact, sending a message out on Instagram celebrating his successful afternoon, which felt long overdue.
United will be pleased to see Garner kick on. He is still only 20 and just because of a disappointing early few months, he should not suddenly be written off.
There are still 25 game weeks left in the Championship this season for Garner and Forest, and he can end this season strongly.
Saturday’s win showed what he is capable of, and he should get plenty more opportunities in an attacking role.
He may still develop into the gem of a player Manchester United are hoping he can be.
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