If there’s one player who has faced a constant fight to prove himself to Nottingham Forest critics it’s Brice Samba.
Last season, he found himself under constant scrutiny. Every goal he conceded was magnified and perhaps he was a victim of his own success from the 2019/20 campaign.
Samba didn’t kick off 2021/22 in particularly good form. He was at fault for Coventry’s winner on the opening day and also conceded soft goals against Bournemouth and Blackburn.
In Chris Hughton’s final game in charge of Forest, Samba was dropped. Ethan Horvath didn’t exactly cover himself in glory though and the Congolese performer won his place back.
Making Samba sit out for one game clearly had the desired effect. He was brilliant during a 2-0 win over Huddersfield and has rediscovered his best form under Steve Cooper.
A show of faith was perhaps the order of the day for Samba. Forest are now playing a more attractive brand of football and that is ensuring the 27-year-old isn’t constantly saving shots.
Some statistics from Who Scored showcase that Samba is a capable stopper. He is sixth in the entire division when it comes to making saves. The Forest custodian has made 33 from his 10 outings this season.
Samba can rediscover best Forest form under Cooper
After Saturday’s game, Birmingham boss Lee Bowyer called the Reds goalkeeper ‘unbelievable’ for his heroics in the 3-0 win in the West Midlands.
Samba made a superb one-handed save near the end of the contest which helped preserve a clean sheet for the Reds.
He also made a solid save against Barnsley as Forest closed in on another crucial win and the signs are positive.
Goalkeepers typically come in for criticism, especially when a team is playing poorly.
Samba has showcased on enough occasions that he is more than good enough to be a first-choice goalkeeper in the Championship.
All this talk of him being average or ordinary is wide of the mark and on his day, Forest are lucky to have him.
Hopefully, Samba can continue silencing his critics under Cooper’s wing.