Manchester United youngster James Garner is set to be handed an audition to stake a claim for a role at Old Trafford after thriving in the Championship with Nottingham Forest
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Manchester United are set to hand James Garner a chance to grab a first-team role in the summer – just weeks after United icon Roy Keane raved about the promising playmaker.
Garner has thrived on loan at Nottingham Forest over the past 18 months, catching the eye during their recent FA Cup run. The Championship outfit were finally knocked out at the quarter-final stage by Liverpool last month, but they claimed the scalps of Arsenal and Leicester on their route to the final stages of football’s most famous knockout competition.
The 21-year-old has also played a key role for Forest in the league, where Steve Cooper’s men are currently right in the mix for promotion to the top-flight. The United academy graduate initially joined Forest on a six-month loan deal at the end of the last season before returning to the City Ground for a season-long stint in late August.
Garner has racked up three goals and six assists in 37 games for Forest this term, but it’s his performances in big games that has left United fans drooling. The midfield maestro was instrumental in the seismic wins over Leicester and Arsenal in the cup, with fans and pundits alike urging Manchester United to give the promising star a chance in the first-team next year.
And according to a new report from The Telegraph, those people could be about to get their wish. It’s outlined in the report that United are set to run the rule over the England U-21 midfielder in the summer, and that Garner could muscle his way into United’s first-team if he impresses.
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While the final decision on whether Garner stays in and around the first-team or not will rest with United’s new manager, the Birkenhead-born ace has been earmarked internally by the Old Trafford hierarchy as a player who has the credentials to thrive in the senior ranks.
Although United have been tipped to dip into the transfer market in a bid to source an elite defensive midfielder in the summer, there is set to be a vacancy further forward that Garner could potentially fill. Paul Pogba looks poised to walk out on the club for the second time after running down his deal, with reports on Tuesday claiming that Paris Saint-Germain have tabled an offer to United’s contract rebel.
After covering Nottingham Forest’s FA Cup defeat to Liverpool, Keane – who played for both Forest and United – lauded Garner after his impressive showing against the Reds and tipped the United youngster to benefit from his experiences in the Championship.
Keane told ITV : “He’s got a good partnership with Yates going in the middle of midfield. I think they complement each other very well. He’s very good technically and he likes to dictate the play, sit a little bit more than Yates. Tough game for him today, but this game is good for those young players to experience playing top teams like Liverpool. It’s a great way to learn.”