James Garner is going to Wembley!
The 21-year-old midfield ace played 118 minutes as Nottingham Forest beat Sheffield United on penalties to qualify for the Championship play-off final at Wembley.
As part of our loan watch coverage, we have covered a lot of James Garner’s development at Nottingham Forest this season, and it was a really good decision from Manchester United to send him back to the City Ground for a second stint on loan.
We already knew before Garner left for Forest that he was one of the most talented players in the academy, but he has now become a player who can demand regular football at a high standard, and I highly doubt there is a Championship side that wouldn’t take him based on the impression he has made over the past two years. It could be argued that he started to make youth football look a bit easy 2+ years ago and that is a clear sign that he was ready to get first team football.
The question is can Garner make a good enough impression on Erik ten Hag and his backroom staff on pre-season? Otherwise there would be options – and, it wouldn’t be a terrible idea to send him back to Forest for a third season if they win the play-off final against Huddersfield Town.
After switching on the game in extra-time, missing the initial 90 minutes because the dog barked for his walk, I sat thinking Garner would be a real advantage to Forest in a penalty shootout.
Sheffield United won the game 2-1 in 90 minutes, but with the aggregate scoreline stood at 3-3 from the two legs, neither side could find a winner.
It was time for some penalties.
Forest went on to win as Oliver Norwood was one of several Sheffield United players to miss from the spot. The former United academy player rushed his penalty and the Forest keeper Brice Samba went on to have a night to remember.
BRICE SAMBA IS THE HERO AND NOTTINGHAM FOREST ARE GOING TO WEMBLEY!! 🙌
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) May 17, 2022
Footage courtesy of Sky Sports
Unfortunately, Garner went off with 118 minutes on the clock and it looked like he sustained a muscle injury. He walked off the pitch in some pain and appeared to be holding the back of his leg.
It’s a shame because he has been a crucial player in Steve Cooper’s side after finishing fourth to secure a place in the play-offs. He will hope that Garner’s injury is nothing serious and he can start in the Wembley final against Huddersfield for a place in the Premier League next season.