Joao Carvalho has not been seeing too much football at Nottingham Forest of late under Martin O’Neill.

The Portuguese boasts plenty of obvious qualities, with his creativity without question.

Many have been left baffled by his ongoing omission from the Reds’ starting XI.

O’Neill has, however, made it clear what he is expecting from a team under his tutelage.

There is a time and a place for fancy flicks in his book, and it is not minute one.

That is keeping a club-record signing twiddling his thumbs on the bench.

When he does get a chance, it is normally with a game being chased and inspiration sought.

Is the right approach being taken?

A mixed response is to be expected to that question.

For some, Carvalho boasts that dash of magic dust that an inconsistent Forest side are crying out for.


To others, the 22-year-old is lightweight and and not yet adjusted to Championship life.

Whatever side of that fence you sit on, you will not be short of company.

You may even find yourself sat next Mr O’Neill if you fall into the latter of those two camps.

The Reds boss appears to view Carvalho as a luxury.

And one he cannot afford.

Even those around the £13 million man in the Forest camp acknowledge that a talented team-mate is all about the finer things in football.

Ryan Yates has appeared alongside Matty Cash on Goal’s latest edition of FUTMATES.

When trying to describe Carvalho to a fellow academy graduate, Yates said: “Total flair, doesn’t like to tackle.”

That may be why he is not getting much of look in under the demanding O’Neill and Roy Keane.

Another of those who could be considered unfortunate to be on the outside looking in at present is Claudio Yacob.

On the combative Argentine, Yates said: “Really aggressive centre midfielder.”

Forest could do with those qualities at present.

As they could those of Tobias Figueiredo, with Yates saying of a man who has missed an unfortunate amount of football through injury: “Really good ball-playing centre-half. Doesn’t talk much but quality on the ball.”

He added on Jack Robinson, who is among those to have filled in for a Portuguese colleague of late: “Says he’s a centre-back but he’s a left-back. Been solid all season.”

He’s definitely a left-back!



During Cash’s turn, he suggested that January arrival Pele could have more to offer.

His assessment?

“Good technically. Holding mid, red boots, good at passing it.”

On another winter addition, Cash said: “A big beast. Our top goalscorer. Scores every game!”

The man in question?

Molla Wague.

And his rather tongue in cheek opinion of himself?

“He’s a winger. He’s not very quick. Plays on the right, scored a few goals.”

Forest could do with Cash chipping in with a few more, with only one effort recorded in 2019 and four across 32 outings since opening the season with four in six.

He is at least seeing plenty of minutes when fit under O’Neill.

Which is more than can be said for a few of those alongside him at the City Ground.

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