Alfa Semedo may have left it late in a season-long loan at Nottingham Forest, but a coming-of-age performance was taken in against Cardiff.

To the point that an answer may finally have been found to a long-running selection poser.

And he was only given 45 minutes in South Wales!

The Guinean midfielder was introduced at the interval against the Bluebirds.

Ryan Yates had made Sabri Lamouchi’s starting XI.

In truth, the 22-year-old struggled again when asked to fill the boots of Samba Sow.

That is not an easy task for anyone, never mind a relatively inexperienced academy graduate.

Yates looked as though some of the questions being asked of him are starting to weigh heavy.

Perhaps he has become too eager to impress.

In an effort to prove a point, you can sometimes try too hard.

There is also the risk that basics suddenly become more difficult when aware that all eyes are on you.

Engine

(Photo by David Shipman – CameraSport via Getty Images)

A few stray passes and shot ballooned into the stands summed up Yates right now against Cardiff.

He was removed from the firing line.

Semedo was asked to pick up the slack alongside Ben Watson in the engine room.

He answered the call.

Which has not always been the case with the Benfica-owned star this season.

He is the same age as Yates, but has a bit more about him.

Semedo is no one-trick pony.

And that has been the problem at times.

Finding the best role for him in Sabri Lamouchi’s system has not been easy, with versatility put to good use.

He has operated as a No.10, a holding midfielder and a link man between defence and attack.

Influence

 

The latter appears to bring the best out of him.

That is the role Semedo took on against Cardiff, with Lamouchi looking for him to influence proceedings at both ends of the field.

Getting stuck in has never been an issue.

Semedo is prepared to put himself about and proved to be a useful asset in aerial battles versus the Bluebirds.

An energetic performer was also able to get up in support of Lewis Grabban and Co.

He really should have recorded a third goal of the season on Tuesday.

The undoubted positive was that Semedo found himself in a position to threaten to the opposition target – as he previously did during a trip to Wales against Swansea.

Assistance was also offered to those at the back when Forest needed to dig in and grind things out.

Sow has starred in that role across the 2019-20 campaign, but niggling knocks are offering an unwelcome headache.

Cover is required in the present, and likely will be again in the future.

Yates doesn’t quite tick the box, but a use may finally have been found for a Swiss Army Knife loanee who was in danger of becoming a Jack of all trades, master of none.

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