In the second part of our exclusive interview with Nottingham Forest under-23 manager, Chris Cohen, he speaks of his admiration for a mainstay at the City Ground during years of upheaval.
Gary Brazil has been at Nottingham Forest since 2012. He has held several positions at the football club and is currently the director pulling the strings at the top of Forest’s illustrious academy.
Cohen was handed the chance to hone his coaching skills by Brazil and the ex-Reds midfielder has been blown away by the 57-year-old’s work ethic.
We asked Cohen what it was like operating under Brazil and he couldn’t speak any higher of the academy chief.
He told Nottingham Forest News: “The biggest part of us as an academy is Gary Brazil. I have been here a couple of years but he’s the one who decides all of our philosophies to work towards.
“He’s a brilliant coach when he comes out on the grass and I pester him all the time to come and put a session of for us as he’s that good.
“There have been fundamental changes in the way the academy is run since Gary came in and the proof is in the pudding.”
Forest regularly utilise the academy ranks to fulfil spots in the first-team and currently, Sabri Lamouchi is a firm advocate for such a philosophy.
Cohen believes you only have to look at the team that faced QPR last week at the City Ground to grasp that the style adopted by Brazil is clearly working.
He continued: “We’ll always be judged on how many players we get through into the first-team.
“Look at the team against QPR. We’ve got Matty Cash, Joe Worrall, Tyler Walker, Alex Mighten and Ryan Yates all in the squad prepared to battle for three points for a club fifth in the Championship, chasing a place in the Premier League. That’s really pleasing.
“It just highlights the work done by Gary and let’s not forget the millions that have been made in sales on academy players in the years since he arrived.
“Gary sets up the philosophies and essentially we’re just in place to implement the direction he wants the academy to go in.
“He’s been an unbelievable servant to the football club and I know he does get a little bit of attention but it’s nowhere near as much as he probably should for the job he’s done.”
With several members of the squad made up of academy players last week, supporters will surely be speculating as to who might be the next to make the grade.
Cohen works with the lads on a daily basis and he believes several of his squad could be in contention.
He said: “There probably are some names but my opinion will be different to Gary’s and Reidy might pick another name out!
“We have a really good group here. There always is at Forest. The football club attracts good players.
“Some of the ones that maybe two or three years ago wouldn’t have been mentioned are starting to head out on loan, so it could be them.
“At the same time, it could be an Alex Mighten or Brennan Johnson situation where someone gets a crack at the first-team without getting out on loan.
“What I would say is that everyone has an opportunity and the ones who work the hardest and show the most character will be the ones to progress.”
Chris Cohen was talking exclusively to Lee Clarke. Part 3 features more from the former Forest man.