James Garner sealed his loan move away from Manchester United at the end of last week.

Garner came close to leaving United on loan in January and a move to go and play regular football is seen as crucial for his development.

Watford emerged as the surprise team to win the race for Garner, beating competition from Huddersfield and Sheffield Wednesday among others [Examiner].

Salford v Manchester United U21 - EFL Trophy
(Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

Garner was a second half substitute for Watford in a 0-0 draw against Wednesday at the weekend, playing 19 minutes.

It was good to see him go straight into the matchday squad, and this looks promising for the season ahead.

The Hornets will be likely promotion contenders, and a top end Championship club is the type of team where United should have been looking to send him to.

Even so, Watford is a bold choice for United and Garner. They do not exactly present stability.

Watford turn over managers quicker than almost any club in English football. Last season they had four different bosses as they got relegated.

Current boss Vladimir Ivic may have Garner in his plans, but what will happen if and when he gets fired, and the next manager does not take a liking to Garner?


Garner then needs to work hard to help ensure Ivic lasts the season, but Watford are an unpredictable club and the Championship can be chaotic. It’s largely beyond his control.

In some respects, no Championship club is safe from changing managers, but Watford tend to have a lower threshold for making snap decisions than other sides.

A special number

One aspect of Garner’s loan move which did raise a smile was his squad number.

Garner has been given the number 16 shirt by Watford. Currently worn by Marcos Rojo at United, this could be his future Old Trafford squad number.

16 was the shirt previously worn by Roy Keane at United, and then Michael Carrick.

Carrick is a player who Garner has been compared to in style, the MEN wrote in 2019.

The United assistant had a spell in the Championship himself with West Ham early in his career. Garner needs to make his time in the division count.

Salford v Manchester United U21 - EFL Trophy
(Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

Manchester United loan exits 20/21

  1. Tahith Chong

    Werder Bremen (season)

  2. Aliou Traore

    SM Caen (season)

  3. Matej Kovar

    Swindon Town (season)

  4. Joel Pereira

    Huddersfield Town (season)

  5. Dylan Levitt

    Charlton Athletic (season)

  6. James Garner

    Watford (season)

  7. Andreas Pereira

    Lazio (season)

  8. Max Taylor

    Kidderminster (until January)

  9. Diogo Dalot

    AC Milan (season)

  10. Di’Shon Bernard

    Salford City (until January)

  11. Jake Carney

    Brighouse Town (season)

  12. Max Haygarth

    Brentford B (until January)

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