A surprise inclusion on Martin O’Neill’s teamsheet yesterday afternoon saw Ryan Yates make his first league start for Nottingham Forest.
The 21-year-old is the latest talent to emerge from the club’s impressive academy and after waiting patiently was handed the chance to impress.
Yates didn’t disappoint.
If the youngster felt any nerves beforehand then he certainly didn’t show them in his performance.
Last season saw Yates learn his trade during two loan spells away from the City Ground.
League Two Notts County and League One Scunthorpe United benefited from his presence during 2017/18.
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The next stage of his development was always likely to be a promotion to Championship football and it was somewhat surprising that he didn’t get a chance under Aitor Karanka.
O’Neill has clearly seen something during training that the Spaniard didn’t.
At a time when results haven’t been great, the Forest boss will have adhered himself to supporters with his move to include Yates.
The new kid on the block was instrumental in yesterday’s win.
Brentford quite simply couldn’t handle such youthful exuberance and as he threw himself into every tackle the excitement level in the stands increased.
If anything he showed maturity way beyond his tender years. Had you sat a person with no allegiance to Forest whatsoever in the stands and asked them to spot the debutant, it would have been unlikely that they would have identified the number 22 playing in red.
It would be fair to say that in recent memory there perhaps hasn’t been such an eloquent debut on the banks of the River Trent.
Playing football is key right now and hopefully such a mature execution yesterday will earn him even more opportunities to shine.