Nottingham Forest head coach Steve Cooper has told Nottinghamshire Live that Joao Carvalho is part of his plans moving forward.
The Portuguese maestro divides the opinion among supporters. It would seem, however, as though Cooper does fancy the creative spark.
Carvalho hasn’t featured since playing the first half of a 1-1 draw against Derby County in August.
In total this season he has played for just 149 minutes in the Championship but Cooper has praised his work in training.
He told Nottinghamshire Live: “Of course he has a part to play. He wouldn’t be on the bench or in the squad if I didn’t think that.
“We select our benches carefully, as we do with the team – thinking about ‘what ifs’ in a game.
“Everyone sitting on that bench is there for a reason. Joao is exactly the same.
“He’s been good. When we talk about the guys on the bench we should mention him. He trains really well and is a good guy.
“For me, he looks ready to play. He has to stay that way so that if the chance comes, he’s ready to take it.”
Potential: Carvalho provides Forest with a conundrum
Having signed for the club for a record £13 million, it’s going to prove difficult to find another club to take him.
With that in mind, it could be better if the Reds utilise him as part of their squad. Cooper’s comments certainly suggest that he’s keen to use him as the season progresses.
Carvalho has played in 65 games for Forest since his arrival in 2018. He has scored eight goals and registered nine assists, proving a hit when Aitor Karanka was in charge.
Times do perhaps change and after an ordinary spell with Almeria last season he’s facing a fight to win a Forest place back.
All Carvalho can do is wait patiently and be ready to grasp his chance when Cooper hands him one.
At 24 time is on the side of Carvalho. With Forest bang in form at the moment, he might have to remain patient.
These comments from the Forest boss do suggest that his time will come, however.