Nottingham Forest under-23 kicked off their Professional Development campaign with a 2-1 win over Barnsley at the Nigel Doughty Academy.

The Reds will look to defend the title they were awarded last season and their first win of 2020/21 was secured thanks to goals from Brennan Johnson and striker Will Swan.

It proved to be a case of third time lucky for Forest when it came to overcoming Barnsley.

(Photo; Jon Hobley; MI News; NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Sabri Lamouchi’s first-team were beaten in the Carabao Cup by the Tykes over a week ago and on Saturday they defeated Forest’s under-18 outfit 4-0.

Cohen’s men produced a typically workmanlike performance though, with Johnson, Jayden Richardson and Jake Taylor all getting some game time.

Johnson’s inclusion was perhaps interesting given that he was on the substitutes bench against QPR on Saturday for the first-team.

The youngster recently returned from international duty where he was called up for the first time by head coach Ryan Giggs.

 

He failed to play in the games against Bulgaria or Finland but just training with the likes of Gareth Bale would have done him the world of good.

The 19-year-old made eight appearances for the first-team last season and showed glimpses of what he is capable of.

Interestingly he played as a striker in Cohen’s team on Monday morning but has typically been utilised as a No.10 or in midfield in the first-team.

Versatile

Johnson is more than capable of being the next youngster to enjoy a breakthrough campaign and he will be chomping at the bit for an opportunity.

The fact he can play in a number of forward positions makes him an ideal option for Lamouchi to include in his matchday squad.

(Photo; Jon Hobley; MI News; NurPhoto via Getty Images)

All Johnson can do whilst he is out of the first-team picture is keeping grasping his chances to shine when Cohen calls upon him.

The youngster has a solid record at under-23 level and in truth, he’s probably outgrown development league football.

With Joao Carvalho seemingly down the pecking order under Lamouchi, that could hand Johnson the chance to act as Luke Freeman’s understudy in the No.10 role.

One way or another it seems only a matter of time before Johnson wins himself another chance to impress in the first-team.

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