Nottingham Forest midfielder Ben Watson has been revitalised since Sabri Lamouchi replaced Martin O’Neill as the club’s manager in June.
He certainly isn’t the only player to have improved considerably since the Frenchman’s arrival at the City Ground. It’s fair to say the midfielder’s turnaround in form has been by far the most dramatic though.
Club legend Kenny Burns has recently spoken in the Nottingham Post about the midfielder’s form. Watson remind Burns of one of his former teammates in the form of John McGovern.
McGovern made over 250 appearances for the Reds and is famous for captaining Brian Clough’s Forest side that won the European Cup twice. He was one of Clough’s first names on the team-sheet.
Comparing Watson to McGovern, Burns said: “John wasn’t particularly a Forest fans’ favourite as a player. But Brian Clough respected him and John was one of the first names on the team-sheet.
“It’s similar for Watson.
“He’s taken a bit of stick from some supporters in the past, and other managers have played him then dropped him. But that’s changing now – fans are starting to appreciate him, and Lamouchi clearly rates him.”
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what has changed for Watson this season. Lamouchi certainly has a lot of faith in him, and has allowed him to play in a role which perfectly suits his game.
The 34-year-old has even added goals to his game this season. His recent strikes against Barnsley and Brentford have seen the Reds pick up an extra four points. They could be crucial towards the end of the season.
Not only have his performances improved, but he is also a vital figure on the pitch. He is one of Forest’s most experienced players and he is an important character for Lamouchi to have at his disposal, especially in the absence of Michael Dawson.
It’ll be interesting to see whether he can maintain his current level of performance between now and the end of the season.