Former European Cup-winning Nottingham Forest player Garry Birtles has told the Garibaldi Red Podcast that he has sympathy for Joao Carvalho.

The club’s record £13.2 million signing was this week shipped out on loan to Almeria in the Spanish second-tier, ending months of frustration for the 23-year-old.

Carvalho had looked to earn a reprieve, featuring in all the pre-season games and lining-up in the starting eleven for the Carabao Cup game at Barnsley.

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

It proved shortlived though and the Portuguese magician wasn’t included in any of Sabri Lamouchi’s matchday squads for the first three Championship games.

Now he will knuckle down and try to find some form in the Segunda Division, alongside ex-Forest academy graduate Arvin Appiah.

Carvalho’s move has divided opinion and Birtles has jumped to the defence of the man who scored four goals and claimed eight assists during the 2018/19 campaign.

He told the Garibaldi Red Podcast: “He’s frustrating but I also have sympathy for him because you’ve got to look at the way Forest play.

“He’s the sort of player who makes things happen in the final third. When you sit back and try and counter-attack, it’s difficult for a player like him to get involved.

“He’s clearly got ability. There was no end product but the reason for that was because so few people were getting in the box.

“For Forest, it’s Lewis Grabban upfront and that’s it. There’s been no Plan B.”


Birtles was part of the Forest team that lifted two European Cups and proved himself as top quality goalscorer at the City Ground.

He hopes to see Carvalho make a name for himself during his loan stint away from the club.

He continued: “Last season Forest only won two games they had been behind in. So when they go behind, they find it very difficult to come back and win a match; that’s really damning.

“For a player like Carvalho to play in a system like that it’s very difficult.

“I hope he goes and proves people wrong. A player of his ability can quite quickly get bogged down, lose his confidence and just disappear. You don’t want players like him to do that.”

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

Carvalho will get straight to work with his new team ahead of their game with Sporting Gijon on Sunday.

He will hope to impress and possibly return to the City Ground and prove his critics wrong.

Right now, however, with Sabri Lamouchi in charge, his chances of first-team football looked limited and a move looks the best option for all parties.

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