Former Manchester United defender Paul Parker believes James Garner could consider leaving Old Trafford this summer if he doesn’t get regular playing time on his return from Nottingham Forest.
The central midfielder joined Forest for the second time in August, signing a season-long loan deal. In a season that has seen the Championship side rise from the bottom of the table to become a play-off contender under Steve Cooper, young United have played a formidable role.
Adored by Forest supporters, Garner – who also played a key role in helping Cooper’s side reach the FA Cup quarter-finals, stunning Arsenal and Leicester en route – scored three goals and had six assists decisive in 36 appearances in all competitions. He also proved to be the heartbeat of the team, forming a strong midfield partnership with Ryan Yates.
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But while Garner’s immediate priority is to help Forest secure promotion this season, his long-term ambition is to become a regular at Old Trafford. As revealed by Manchester Evening News Last month, the England Under-21 international set his sights on forming the first-team squad next season and could benefit from a likely upset in midfield.
However, former United defender Parker has warned the club that Garner’s appetite to play regularly at Forest could convince him to leave Old Trafford if regular opportunities do not arise. Nonetheless, the pre-season and who becomes United’s next manager could dictate Garner’s future.
“If he has that about him, and he thinks he’s better than what United have right now and he deserves an opportunity, then he has to turn around and say that’s what he wants to do, or if he doesn’t believe he’s going to get the opportunity, then he should be looking to move,” Parker said. OddsNinja.
“Maybe step back to go forward. I think he has to look at it before the season and see what happens.
“The last thing he wants now is maybe help a team get into the play-offs, play in the play-offs, maybe reach the final, maybe even more, help them get into the Premier League, then sit back and not even make the Premier League squad for Manchester United.
“He’s gotten that taste now and I’d be very surprised if he still wants to sit and watch. If he’s got anything about him, he has to go and try to play as high as he can.”
On his thoughts on the 21-year-old’s loan spell at the City Ground, Parker added: “I’ve seen him play many times but when you watch Nottingham Forest play in the Championship it’s a good competitive football.It is played at a faster pace than the Premier League.
“There are more minutes in Championship games because players don’t go down as often as they do in the Premier League, so he’s playing in a high-paced midfield.
“You look at what he does, he doesn’t give the ball away cheaply. I think given what he’s done and done, he does the tough yards there, and that’s about him more than anything.”
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