‘Different class’ – What people are saying about James Garner’s fine form

After a difficult spell at Watford, Manchester United loanee James Garner has made an instant impact at Nottingham Forest. 

Since joining Forest in February, Garner has been one of the first names on Chris Hughton’s team-sheet and has already established himself a fan favourite at the City Ground.

We’ve rounded up what people have been saying about the talented midfielder during his loan spell at Forest.

Chris Hughton

“He is a player who you want to get on the ball; he is a good passer. He has a good frame on him and, as he gets older and more experienced, I think he will fill out more,” Hughton told The Athletic in February. 

“He is good on the ball, he would be regarded as being a little bit more defensive, even though you would not have him as a physically defensive player. He is 6ft 1in, but his strength is on the ball. 

“With the way we play and the way we use two wingers and have full-backs who generally get high and wide, to get a lot of crosses in, I am hoping he is going to be a good continuity-type player for us.

“He has a passing ability about him. One of the deciding factors about him was that he did spend the first half of the season at Watford and played games for them — he played against us for Watford, at the City Ground, just a few months ago.”

Jack Colback

“I thought he was different class. He played some lovely little balls to switch the play,” Colback said after Garner’s debut against Coventry City.

“He’s come in at 19 and done that. He was saying during the game that it was his first game for a while, so he was blowing a bit by the end!

“It’s tough to step in there, have the pace of the game and the sharpness, but I thought he was really good. Coming from a club like Manchester United, he’s going to have pedigree and quality. He’s shown that in training.

“The gaffer was brave enough to put him straight in, and he’s repaid that. I’m sure he’ll be hoping to build on those performances.”

Cyrus Christie

“Jimmy Garner has done really well and for me as a full back and the way that I play, he’s been a lot better for me in terms of how he gets the ball quick and switches the play,” Christie told Forest’s official YouTube channel.

“It makes my job a lot easier and it’s a lot better for how me and Knocks (Anthony Knockaert) play, especially in getting the ball out quick to us.

“You saw that at Coventry when that happens and what can happen.”

Joe Lolley

“He’s a really talented player,” Lolley said. “Technically, he’s really good with both feet, takes the ball and is very confident for someone of his age.

“He’s a really nice lad as well. Off the field, he’s settled in well. Since I’ve been here, we’ve always had a great dressing room, which has made it easy for him.

“I think he’s really enjoying playing football. He’s got the confidence of the manager and the fans. I think he’s enjoying himself.

“He’s a very talented player and I’m sure he’ll have a great career.”

Chris Hughton

“We’ve been absolutely delighted with him,” Hughton told Football League World. “He’s grown in experience, he’s learning all the time. His game isn’t perfect, but it wouldn’t be at his age.

“He’s on the right road to being a very good player, that’s my thoughts on him at the moment. We are very respectful of how we speak about him as he’s not our player, but more so, we are very grateful to Manchester United for his services.”

Sarah Clapson

“You’d struggle to pick out a bad performance so far,” the Nottingham Post’s Forest correspondent told the Manchester Evening News in February. “He’s increasingly settled into the side and improves week on week.

“He immediately impressed on his debut, but I’d probably pick out his performance against Wycombe — simply because he played one of the most outrageous passes. Outside of his right boot, straight to Joe Lolley on the left flank, and it resulted in a goal for Anthony Knockaert.

“It was a lovely goal, all starting with Garner’s brilliant ball. I’d urge anyone to find a clip of it online.

“There’s absolutely no doubt he can play higher. He’s only 19, so he’s going to continue to improve. He looks very comfortable in the Championship, but he’s so good on the ball I’m sure he’ll be a regular in the Premier League one day.”

Nick Miller

“He has been wonderful,” the Athletic journalist told the Manchester Evening News in February. “He’s exactly the sort of player we needed in midfield, someone who can bring a bit of vision and creativity.

“We had started to play a bit better before Garner arrived, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that our form has really picked up since he came in.”

Lee Hendrie

“He’s been the best player on the pitch for me so far [against Brentford], James Garner,” Hendrie said on Sky Sports. “Even in that first half he’s got on the ball, he’s been brave, dictated… his range of passing is absolutely first class.”

Chris Hughton


“He [Garner] was really good again today and he has a maturity for his age,” Hughton told Forest’s official website after Garner’s Man of the Match display against Brentford. 

“It is a hard feat at that age and not only here but in the first half of the season at Watford when he played a lot of games.”

“At this moment it is great development for him and you can only play like you are and be in the team if you are good enough and at this moment we are delighted to have him.”

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