Manchester United prospect James Garner sent Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a timely reminder of his obvious potential after scoring his first goal for Nottingham Forest against Derby County in the East Midlands derby on Friday night.
Garner scored his first senior goal in only his seventh appearance for Chris Hughton’s side since swapping Old Trafford for the City Ground on loan until the end of the season last month following an unsuccessful spell with Watford.
Hughton threw Garner in at the deep end by handing him his first start in the 2-1 win over Coventry City at the start of the year, helping his side end a winless run of three games in the Championship.
Since then, he has gone on to make seven appearances in the English second division with his first professional goal to show for his six starts, earning praise from former Newcastle United midfielder Jack Colback.
He said: “I thought James Garner’s debut on was fantastic. He was moving the ball around really well and spraying some good passes around the pitch so it was a strong performance but when you consider he has joined from Manchester United, you know he’ll have that quality.”
Despite his age, the 19-year-old has already drawn comparisons to club legend and current backroom staff member Michael Carrick, and it’s easy to why after such an impressive performance.
Garner opened the scoring in the first half after he fired home a first-time effort from the edge of the box beneath the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
Colin Kazim-Richards’ late equaliser meant Forest were forced to be more defensive in the closing stages yet Garner stuck to his defensive duties diligently, finishing the game with one block and two interceptions to his name from the full 90′ minutes, as per SofaScore.
He also boasted a fine 71% pass accuracy with only a handful of his passes going astray (10), while he also completed one successful dribble from the same number of attempts, which suggests that he was a constant thorn in Wayne Rooney’s side.
Garner additionally also took a staggering three shots on target, with four attempts on goal in total throughout the entire game, which greatly exceeds Nemanja Matic’s efforts in the Premier League this season with the 32-year-old only recording 0.3 shots per 90 in 13 top-flight appearances, per SofaScore.
Now, with United reportedly eyeing a move for West Ham midfielder Declan Rice, Garner’s heroics will send a timely reminder back to Solskjaer that he is worth keeping an eye on for the future over the remainder of the campaign.
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