Some of the questions regarding Joao Carvalho’s role at Nottingham Forest may have been answered against Derby, but not by the man himself.

The Reds’ record signing found himself back on the bench for a meeting with the Rams.

A fellow countryman filled his favoured playmaking post.

Tiago Silva was once again given the nod.

Sabri Lamouchi has paired two Portuguese together on home soil at times this season.

A derby date called for a little more caution.

The Frenchman’s selection was also just reward for those who got the starting berths.

There was no reason to remove Ryan Yates or Sammy Ameobi from the lineup.

As a result, Carvalho had to make do with an 18-minute cameo.

He may, having spent more time watching on last season than he would have liked, need to make peace with a supporting role.


(Photo by Jon Hobley/ MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

That is because the lead in Forest’s 2019-20 production now lies in the hands of Silva.

He has passed a couple of notable auditions and shown himself to be ready for the spotlight.

Carvalho, who has fluffed his lines at times, is back among the extras.

How long he stays there remains to be seen.

There will, after all, always be a place for his mercurial talent within the wider City Ground squad.

If inspiration is required when Silva finds himself short, then Lamouchi has a like-for-like replacement up his sleeve.

It is, however, the former that has a few more strings to his bow.

Carvalho is very much your archetypal No.10.

For him, the ball is to be manipulated and moved on.

It is up to others to win and send it heading in his direction.

Silva, in contrast, is prepared to blur those lines.



He boasts the graft to go with the guile, as he has shown on more than one occasion this season.

Against Derby on Saturday, the 26-year-old was never going to back down from a challenge.

He put himself about, fighting for possession whenever he didn’t have it.

There was the odd moment of magic, with Duane Holmes sent for a second-half hot dog by a Ronaldinho-esque flip-flap.

Silva is on the pitch to get supporters on their feet, but he is about much more than mere creativity.

He has put in 21 tackles so far for Forest – in 15 appearances – which is more than half the tally that Carvalho (40) has managed in almost 18 months.

Unsurprisingly, a signing from the summer of 2019 averages more challenges (2.11 to 1.21) and wins more of them (1.31 to 0.97) than a big-money capture in 2018.

His aggregated duel numbers (14.78 per game) and success (6.13) are also notably higher than a compatriot (11.47 and 4.14).

With Silva, there is bite to go with the bark.

The same cannot be said of Carvalho and he may find himself spending a little longer on the leash as a result.

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