James Garner, the 22-year-old midfielder who spent over a decade in Manchester United’s academy, embarked on a new chapter when he joined Everton last summer, writes the Mirror. Reflecting on the transition, Garner acknowledges the significant culture shock that came with being thrust into a relegation battle at Goodison Park, a stark contrast to his years at a club where winning was the standard currency.
At Manchester United, Garner experienced a footballing environment defined by success, from his early days in the youth system to breaking into the first team. During successful loan spells with Watford and Nottingham Forest, he reached three semi-finals and even tasted play-off triumphs. However, since arriving at Everton, he has found himself in a challenging situation, frequently battling in the lower reaches of the Premier League.
Despite the stark contrast, Garner firmly believes that he made the right decision in joining Everton, emphasizing his unwavering commitment to playing football. He acknowledges the shift in mindset, from being part of winning teams to facing the demands of a relegation battle.
“Yeah, a massive culture shock in a way,” Garner concedes with a reflective smile. “Ever since I was six or seven when I’ve been playing football, always at a club and a team with United that’s been winning.”
His journey into the Everton squad has been marked by challenging league positions. Nevertheless, Garner maintains a positive outlook. He emphasizes that his primary focus has always been to play football and contribute positively to his team’s fortunes.
“My mindset has always been to play football,” he explains. “It doesn’t just take me, of course; it takes the 11 players, the subs that are coming on, and it takes a good group of staff. And we have those things.”
Garner’s determination and positive attitude were on full display in Everton’s recent Premier League victory over Brentford, where he played a significant role in securing the team’s first win of the campaign, lifting them out of the relegation zone with a resounding 3-1 triumph.
As Everton prepares for a Carabao Cup clash with Villa, Garner believes the club is gradually heading in the right direction under the guidance of the manager. He feels that the team is adapting better to the manager’s style of play and is growing more cohesive. Garner remains optimistic that, with the return of key players like Dominic Calvert-Lewin and the addition of Beto, Everton will start converting the numerous chances they’ve created into goals.
“I feel like we are only going in the right direction now,” Garner notes. “Hopefully now the ball starts flying in the back of the net, which is the only thing that has been missing.”
James Garner’s journey from Manchester United to Everton may have brought a culture shock, but his unwavering commitment to his new team’s success is a testament to his dedication and resilience as a footballer.