James Garner joined the Manchester United academy at U8s level, he firstly started out as a defender — playing centre back up until the age of 15. Since then he’s been a midfielder.
Garner made his first appearance for United U18’s against Arsenal, coming on as a substitute, during the 2016-17 season. He played regularly for the under 18s after signing as an academy scholar, featuring 24 times scoring four goals in the process. That same season he also featured for the U19s, playing eight times helping them to reach the round of sixteen in the UEFA Youth League.
The 2018-19 season seen Garner travel to America with the first team during the club’s pre season tour — starting in the game against San Jose Earthquakes. On that same tour, he also made substitute appearances against Real Madrid and Bayern Munich gaining experience against two giants of the game would only help his progression.
On 27th February 2019, Garner made his first team debut coming on as a late substitute in a victory against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. A much deserved achievement for Garner having shown his quality in academy for years. The month after his first team debut he signed a new contract with the club.
The 2019-20 season seen Garner again travel with the first team on pre season tour. In the first pre-season game, Garner came on as a late substitute against Perth Glory and scored his first senior goal. That same season he made his European debut for United against Partizan starting the away fixture where United won 1-0 thanks to an Anthony Martial penalty.
The 2020-2021 season seen the start of Garner’s loan spells firstly starting with Watford signing a season long loan deal. After Watford’s change of manager, Garner fell down the packing order and his loan deal was terminated.
After the Watford loan, Garner then joined fellow Championship side Nottingham Forest scoring his first goal for the club against rivals Derby much to the delight of the Forest fans. That season Garner played twenty times for Forest scoring four times. Forest finished the season seventeenth.
The season ended and Garner returned to United for pre season training. On 22nd August, Garner rejoined Nottingham Forest for his second stint with the club much to the delight of the Forest fans many hoping for the same from him if not better.
Garner also signed a new contract with united before going back to Forest signing until June 2024 with the option of an additional year.
This current season James Garner has been a massive part of Nottingham Forest’s success not just in the league but many stand out performances in the FA Cup. If you look at his stats against Arsenal and Leicester in the FCA cup you can see how much he has become under Forest manager Steve Cooper.
If you look at him on the pitch he wants to win, he’s dedicated and also a player who’s not afraid to do the dirty work as such, something a lot of players now a days don’t like to do when they don’t have the ball. He’s captained United at every age group he’s played minus the first team, which tells you he’s also got great leadership.
Personally I feel the only thing Garner is missing from being a regular United player is the experience but he is getting more and more experience playing for Forest in a physical and demanding league such as the championship. Garner this season has played thirty one times for Forest scoring three goals. He’s been one of the main men in their recent turn around in form since the appointment of Steve Cooper, getting massive wins in the FA cup against Arsenal and Leicester.
With United’s midfield issues is Garner ready for the step up to feature for United next season?