Back when James Garner signed on loan for Watford at the start of the season, the worry was what may happen when the trigger-happy Hornets sack their manager.
This was not just a quip. It has proved to be a well founded concern.
Watford sacked manager Vladimir Ivic back on December 19, despite sitting as high up as fifth in the Championship table.
A hire and fire policy has become common place at Watford and was the biggest red flag for United about sending talented midfielder Garner on loan to the club.
Garner has not been picked to start once under new boss Xisco Munoz.
For one of these he was ineligible, the away game at United in the FA Cup. But he has been overlooked as a starter in all other fixtures, despite this extra rest.
These games include four Championship matches. One of which was last night, with Garner on the bench against Barnsley and he was an unused substitute.
Garner had made 12 starts under previous boss Ilic. The change in boss has marginally improved their fortunes. They sit in third place, although were sixth before last night’s game.
You could point out Garner may not be in the team because he may not have done enough to win a regular role. He was still finding his feet under Ilic, playing a more defensive game rather than showcasing some of the attacking abilities which saw him score regularly for the under-23s last season.
But he cannot progress if he is not in the line-up. Xisco’s preference for a 4-4-2 has limited the number of central midfield spots, and at present, Tom Cleverley is getting the nod ahead of him.
Garner needs this to change between now and the end of the season. Watford being as they are, there may even be another manager change in a month or so, which could work to Garner’s benefit.
Tahith Chong’s struggles continue
Garner is not the only United player on loan who is experiencing a tough time.
Tahith Chong has failed to shine at Werder Bremen this season and was an unused substitute as the German side lost to Borussia Moenchengladbach last night.
He was also an unused substitute at the weekend as Werder beat Augsburg.
Manager Florian Kohfeldt told Deichstube earlier in the month after he substituted Chong an hour into a draw with Leverkusen that the United loanee’s decision making needed to improve. He has not played a minute since.
He faces a far tougher challenge to turn his spell around than Garner does.
Manchester United loan exits 20/21
- Aliou Traore
SM Caen (season)
- Joel Pereira
Huddersfield Town (season)
- Andreas Pereira
- Max Taylor
Kidderminster (until January)
- Diogo Dalot
AC Milan (season)
- Di’Shon Bernard
Salford City (until end of season)
- Jake Carney
- Ethan Laird
MK Dons (Jan to end of season)
- Jesse Lingard
West Ham (Jan to end of season)
- James Garner
Nottingham Forest (Jan to end of season)
- Tahith Chong
Club Brugge (Jan to end of season)
- Facundo Pellistri
Alaves (Jan to end of season)
- Teden Mengi
Derby (Jan to end of season)
- Dylan Levitt
NK Istra (Feb to end of season)
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