Roy Keane declared that the future looks bright for Manchester United loanee James Garner following his latest Nottingham Forest display.
The 21-year-old has made his name as one to watch from the Old Trafford academy in recent seasons. He initially went out on loan to Watford at the start of last season but struggled there.
However, Garner has flourished since taking in his first stint at Forest last January. He subsequently signed up to another spell at the City Ground this term.
And he has impressed again under manager Steve Cooper, starting every game in the Forest midfield since November.
His latest performance came against Liverpool in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Sunday. Garner put in a solid display as the Championship side ran the Reds close in a 1-0 defeat.
Speaking on ITV Sport‘s coverage of the match, former Man Utd midfielder Roy Keane lauded Garner’s display. He hinted at the potential impact Garner could have back at Old Trafford, if United do not send him on loan again.
“He has got a good partnership with [Ryan] Yates going in the middle of midfield,” the pundit said. “I think they complement each other very well.
“He is very good technically and he likes to dictate the play, sits a little bit more than Yates.
“Tough game for him today, but this game is good for those young players to experience playing against these top players like Liverpool, it is a great way to learn.”
The Forest fans made life hard for Liverpool on Sunday, but the hosts lacked quality for most of the game.
However, they had their moments in the second half. Indeed, Philip Zinckernagel missed a golden chance before Diogo Jota opened the scoring for Liverpool shortly after.
What’s more, Garner put Yates through with an eye-of-the-needle pass. Yates got past an outstretched Alisson and went down claiming a penalty. However, Keane insisted that the midfielder needed to do more.
Garner involved in Forest penalty call
“They should be proud, I think Forest in the second half may feel slightly unlucky,” Keane added in his assessment. “They had one or two moments, but all the fans ask is the players give their all, and they did tonight and I think Forest were slightly unlucky to be fair.
“The referee has got it [Yates penalty shout] right. It was a brilliant pass and an absolutely fantastic touch, but I think the problem with Yates is that he is too honest and not smart enough.
“He should really try and go into the goalkeeper more because he is thinking, ‘I want to score’ and we can’t criticise him for that, but he has got to go into the keeper and we probably see a more experienced player do that.
“It is frustrating because he is so honest and trying to stay on his feet but he needed to be smarter there.”
The result means Liverpool advanced into the FA Cup semi-finals, where Manchester City await at Wembley. Chelsea play Crystal Palace in the other semi-finals after their respective wins over Middlesbrough and Everton.
For Forest, their full focus turns to the race for promotion back to the Premier League.