Joao Carvalho and Tiago Silva continue to generate plenty of lively debate at Nottingham Forest, with two Portuguese competing for one spot.

They have operated alongside one another at times this season, but the general consensus is that Sabri Lamouchi should be selecting either or.

Shoehorning two playmakers into one starting XI can be a little over the top.

Especially when the creative qualities of Joe Lolley and Co are also tossed into the mix.

Forest need a No.10, but only one of them.

Which leads us back to the aforementioned debate regarding who should get the nod.

Carvalho was acquired in 2018 with the intention of being a talismanic presence.

With a club-record £13 million worth of faith invested in him, big things were expected.

They are still being demanded.

Unfortunately for the 22-year-old, he hasn’t yet delivered on the remit laid out when he arrived.

Silva, who cost considerably less but still demanded a seven-figure fee, has also experienced the odd teething problem.


(Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

He was, however, the man to get the nod for a trip to Luton, with Carvalho left kicking his heels on the bench.

Within the immediacy of modern culture, with memories growing ever shorter, Silva’s encouraging showing at Kenilworth Road has landed him a big billing.

Forest legend Kenny Burns has said in the Nottingham Post: “I’ve raved about him before and there’s no doubt that he’s much more suited to playing behind Lewis Grabban, compared with a much deeper role.

“He has a greater impact on the game and not only is he much more consistent than Joao Carvalho, he’s also got a tackle in him, unlike his compatriot.

“If you didn’t know that one of the Portuguese lads cost £13m and the other didn’t, you’d think it was Silva – he’s a different class.

“Carvalho is often an enigma and I think some supporters think he’s better than what he actually is, Lamouchi certainly seems to favour Silva right now and that for me, is the right decision.”

It is always advisable to avoid sweeping judgements, especially when it comes to enigmatic talents.

Carvalho and Silva fall into that category.

Burns, though, has laid his cards out on the table.



For him, Carvalho is now disposable and Silva the best thing since sliced bread.

That is a rather bold assessment of one player many still consider to be the man with the Midas touch and another who has faced criticism of his own at times this season.

It was not all that long ago that questions were being asked of Silva’s ball retention and overall contribution to the collective cause.

Did he provide a positive answer against Luton? Yes.

Is there still much more that he could offer? Also, yes.

At times against the Hatters, having being asked to operate a little deeper in recent outings, Silva drifted too far from Grabban.

When Forest’s frontman ran the channels and looked for assistance in the box, there was often none to be found.

Silva, Carvalho or whoever is asked to play ‘in the hole’ must ensure that they pose the kind of threat in the final third expected of them.

That means with and without the ball.

Both men in contention for an important role are more than capable of excelling, while having the two of them on top of their game would lend itself nicely to productive rotation.

A Portuguese puzzle has not been solved, though, and there are still a few pieces missing despite claims from some that they have all been picked up and put together.

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