James Garner.

What advice is Garner putting into practice?

James Garner has explained how his one-to-one mentoring sessions with Michael Carrick have helped him adapt to life in the Championship with Nottingham Forest.

The Manchester United midfielder is in his second loan spell away from the club, after joining Watford for the first part of the campaign, and has been in sparkling form for the City Ground outfit, earning rave reviews for his performances under Chris Hughton.

It is a step up for the 20-year-old, who is maturing nicely at Forest, but the words of advice and tips from first-team coach Carrick, who operated in a similar role in his playing days, have had an extremely positive effect.

Garner flourishing at ForestVideo

“There was something that definitely re-jogged my mind a week or so ago,” Garner told us. “I was speaking to one of my mates, Angel [Gomes], and talking about the things I used to do with Michael; the little tips he used to give me.

“You know, most of it sounds so basic but some of the basic things are hardest to do. If things are playing on your mind, it will help you with a split second more [time], so it's definitely something that has helped me and will continue to help me.”

When asked for the specifics of the advice and whether it was a case of buying extra time and space out on the pitch, Garner replied: “Literally that. Buying yourself that extra split second. Always looking forward, always thinking forward, always having a picture in your head before you receive the ball. Things like this.

“It's just having the idea and he said to me if you're thinking about doing that before the game, it will just naturally come when the ball does come. You're already thinking what you are going to do.

“It's something that definitely helped me, like I said, and I hope it continues to help me.”

The group of boys who have come through the ranks at the same time remain close and are helping support each other from afar during lockdown.

“I think that's the most important thing [keeping in touch],” explained Garner. “I've been with Angel since what six, seven and eight. Since I was a kid. We grew up together in the Academy and we still keep in touch. All the boys - Mason [Greenwood], Brandon [Williams]. We're all such a tight-knit group that I don't think that will ever change.

“Dylan [Levitt] is out in Croatia and it's great for him to experience a different country and different types of grounds. I saw a video the other week of the pitches he's playing on and it's different to what he's used to so it's good experience for him.”

Forest's next game is on Friday, at Cardiff City, before entertaining QPR on Monday afternoon.

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