Eyebrows were raised during the summer when Nottingham Forest plunged a record transfer fee on unknown Portuguese starlet Joao Carvalho.

The 21-year-old penned a five-year contract at the City Ground during the summer transfer window; making the switch to Forest for £13 million from Benfica.

Given the substantial transfer fee much has been expected of the youngster and he is yet to disappoint the club’s supporters.

(Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

Carvalho is already proving value for money. His performances to date have represented breathtaking technical ability and mesmerising passing ability.

In Wednesday’s 5-5 draw with Aston Villa, he notched his third goal of the campaign, to go alongside six assists; although his overall play has impressed everyone, including his manager during the current campaign.

Speaking during his pre-Ipswich press conference, boss Aitor Karanka lauded his record signing and how quickly he has adapted to life in the Championship.

He told Nottinghamshire Live: “It has been a surprise, because at the beginning, in pre-season, maybe the highlights were in Gil (Dias) and Diogo (Goncalves).

“But since the first game of the season, we could feel that Joao has settled in really well. Now he is improving.

“His game on Wednesday was amazing and he has been here just for three or four months.”

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Perhaps the most optimistic aspect of Carvalho is that is will only get better with more games he plays in English football – a notion shared by Karanka.

The boss continued: “When he is more confident, he will play better.

“He understands this league better now and the better players you have around you; the easier it is.”

At 21-years-old his form has more often than not showcased maturity beyond his years; whilst unlike other foreign imports the club have signed in the past, he isn’t afraid to put in a shift.

In recent weeks Carvalho has been part of a forward quarter alongside Joe Lolley, Lewis Grabban and Matty Cash that has delighted the Forest faithful with some scintillating attack-minded football.

Wearing the number 10 shirt means that Carvalho has to walk in the shadows of  some of the best players to have ever played for the club.

On current form, however, he is showing clear signs that he can leave his own legacy on the famous shirt.

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