James Garner seeking to impress Erik ten Hag showing his physicality after a commendable season

We have known for some years that Garner has the talent and ability to succeed - perhaps it is time for that

Manchester United midfielder James Garner has ‘set his heart on securing a role in United’s midfield‘ next season according to quotes from the player reported by the Manchester Evening News. The 21-year-old spent last season on loan at Nottingham Forest.

Garner played a key role in Forest’s promotion to the Premier League, returning 23 years after the last time they appeared in the top flight of English football. He featured 49 times for the club, scoring four goals and ten assists in all competitions. A great start for him.

It was his second season out on loan, playing for Watford for the first half of the 2020/21 season, then moving to Forest in January 2021, where he started to find his feet in first team football, scoring four goals in 20 appearances for the club. He also made 21 appearances for Watford that season.

It has been stated in The Mirror that Garner, 21, ‘built on his reputation of being a technically-gifted midfielder who looks to have a very bright future’ during his time at Forest which has done him the world of good when it comes to returning to United for the start of yet another new era.

Erik ten Hag has taken over United, replacing Ole Gunnar Solskjær as the permanent manager of the club, taking over from interim manager Ralf Rangnick who departed the club at the end of last season. Garner spoke to the media after playing for England U21s last week, saying:

“I’m not too sure, personally. I’ve not had much time to think. I’ve gone from Championship football straight to international football; I’ve not really had a breather or time to think. But that’s what I’d like to do; go on pre-season and impress, it’s all up to me, really.

It’s down to me as a player to impress him and hopefully make a mark. It’s huge (next season). I feel like last season my career has only just started, I’m still young, just turned 21 couple of months ago.

I’ve had such a good season this season, with the national team and at club level as well. As you said, it’s very important now to hopefully play in the Premier League next season.”

Garner will speak to Ten Hag once he returns to the club at the start of next month once he has returned from holiday and he could give the Dutchman what he wants. Garner feels that he has improved over the last season, developing physically and feels ready. He said:

“I think I’ve come on leaps and bounds this season. Played a lot of games, 50-plus now, so I’ve developed a lot physically, which was the question I was asked – whether I’d be able to play, whether I’m ready physically.

“I think I’ve shown I’m physically ready to play and, like I said, felt like I’ve come on leaps and bounds. I just feel like, before I went on loan, there were questions of am I physically ready to compete, to play first-team football, and I believe that I’ve shown that this season.

“Not only playing a lot of games but how I’ve held my own in such a tough league and men’s football, you know. I think I’ve shown that.”

United have been waiting for a player to come through the academy and have a good experience on loan for a while now. With Garner, the club has seen just that and it also seems that the player is returning better off and energised and feeling ready to take the game by the scuff of the neck.

Written by John Walker

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I support Manchester United, the greatest English football team to have ever existed. Bruno Fernandes is the latest in a long line of players with great ability to play for the club. I idolised Bryan Robson, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, and Eric Cantona growing up.