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Juan Mata Predicted The Future Of Manchester United's Midfield Before Leaving The Club

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Juan Mata Predicted The Future Of Manchester United's Midfield Before Leaving The Club

Juan Mata is a huge fan of James Garner and believes the Manchester United academy product can become a "very, very good" midfielder.

The 21-year-old, who made 49 appearances in all competitions during his season-long at Nottingham Forest, played a key part in helping Steve Cooper's side achieve promotion to the Premier League.

And after starring for Forest in their 1-0 win against Huddersfield in the play-off final last month, Garner sent a message to new United manager Erik ten Hag after an impressive individual campaign.

"The whole idea of a loan is to show everyone what you can do, get better and put yourself in the best possible position to go back to your parent club," Garner said.

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"I don't know what that will consist of at the moment, but I feel like I've given myself the best possible chance to go in and do my best.

"I came to Forest when they were low down in the league, but playing week in and week out has been really beneficial. As a player I've developed a lot. Everyone says this league is probably one of the hardest in the world."

Image credit: Alamy
Image credit: Alamy

Garner added: "You learn a lot from playing against good teams and experiencing a lot of good battles.

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"I've also been alongside teammates who have played in the Premier League and they've shared a lot of advice with me, so I'm lucky to have had this opportunity and it's definitely put me in good stead for the future."

Image credit: Alamy
Image credit: Alamy

After such a positive spell at the City Ground, plenty of United fans are eager to see Garner flourish in Erik ten Hag's plans.

And with Paul Pogba leaving Old Trafford at the end of his contract in June, questions continue to be raised as to whether Garner should be given a chance to prove his worth at Old Trafford.

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Well, a certain Juan Mata certainly thinks so. The Spaniard, who will also become a free agent when his deal expries at the end of this month, has waxed lyrically about the former Watford loanee in years gone by.

“I always thought he [Garner] is one of the players who, if he keeps going and keeps improving, in the way he was doing in the academy, he can be a very, very good midfielder," Mata told Manchester United's official website.

"I really like him; the way he plays on the ball, his cleverness, his way of looking forward, looking for a pass and also his attitude off the ball. So, whenever he was here, I always tried to encourage him and said what I believed he could be as a player.

"I always tried to motivate him and give him confidence as I think, when you’re that age, you need confidence and trust - not only from the manager but also from your team-mates.

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"He’s a great guy and a very good player, as I’ve said before, because he keeps improving every day."

Image credit: Alamy
Image credit: Alamy

Manchester United legend Paul Parker, meanwhile, thinks Garner should continue his progress at Nottingham Forest.

"I think he [Garner] needs to go on a loan," Parker told BonusCodeBets.

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"Should it be in the Premier League? Yes, it has to be in the Premier League, I think for his own sanity, to be given the opportunity to play in that league.

"Should it be with Nottingham Forest? I think it should be with Nottingham Forest.

"I think if Steve Cooper wants to keep him, then he should be relaxed because he knows the club already and he has been there long enough."

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Manchester United, Juan Mata, Premier League

Jack Kenmare
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