Loan Watch: Club legend Roy Keane singles out Manchester United loanee James Garner after Liverpool loss
Speaking on ITV after Liverpool’s 1-0 win over Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup (h/t The Sun), club legend Roy Keane praised Manchester United loanee James Garner for his performance against the Reds, despite tasting defeat.
Liverpool were overwhelming favourites heading into the quarterfinals of the competition against Championship side Forest but were made to work hard for a winner, with Diogo Jota netting late in the second half to ensure his side progressed to the semi-finals of the tournament.
Keane, who won 7 Premier League titles with United, singled out Garner for praise and said that he was a technically gifted player who likes to dictate play alongside Forest teammate Ryan Yatesy.
“He’s been [in] a really good partnership with [Ryan] Yatesy, they complement each other very well. He’s technically very good. He likes to dictate the play, sits a little bit deeper than Yates.”
The midfielder is on loan at the Championship club until the end of the season, and then he is expected back at his parent club ahead of the new campaign. Hopefully, we see him continue to impress at Forest and return to United a better player than the one we sent out.
“Great way to learn”
Garner played the entire 90 minutes against Liverpool, putting in an impressive shift alongside Yates as the midfield pair made it all happen for their side against elite opposition in the Reds. Unfortunately for the duo, their efforts would go wasted as Jota’s strike knocked them out.
Keane said that despite the Liverpool loss, it was a great experience and a great way to learn for young players like Garner who the Irishman said had a ‘tough game’.
“Tough game for him today, this is a great experience for young players coming up against top players like Liverpool. It’s a great way to learn.”
The 21-year-old has been key for Steve Cooper’s men this season, turning into a regular on the team sheet this term despite his age and lack of experience. The defensive midfielder was crucial in the team’s journey to the quarterfinals of the FA Cup, beating teams like Arsenal and Leicester City.
He was also on loan at Forest last season in the second half of the campaign, where his displays in the middle of the park saw him return to the Championship for a full season with the team this time around to develop his game.
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With midfield known to be a weak link for United for the past couple of years, perhaps Garner could be the solution to our problems. A young defensive midfielder is missing at the club, with only 33-year-old Nemanja Matic the only other player who naturally plays in the role.
With the Serbian not getting any younger and Garner getting more impressive by the game, it may be time for the United loanee to step up his game next season and play for our first team. Hopefully, he is able to not only replicate his Forest form but also build upon it.