Nottingham Forest key figure Gary Brazil has heaped praise on under-23 defender Riley Harbottle following some fine form.

The centre-back started the season brightly. He played in both Carabao Cup games and made the bench for a couple of Championship clashes.

Injury struck though and he’s been forced into spending some of the season on the sidelines.

In recent weeks he’s made a return to action and how.

West Bromwich Albion v Nottingham Forest: Premier League 2 Division 2
(Photo; Adam Fradgley; West Bromwich Albion FC; Getty Images)

The under-23s are now on the cusp of a play-off place in their Premier League 2 campaign, with Harbottle taking on the role of captain.

He has played for 645 minutes since his return and in that time, Andy Reid’s team have conceded just four goals.

Clearly, his experience of those first-team outings has paid dividends and Harbottle has even helped himself to a goal.

The 21-year-old isn’t what you’d consider an up-and-coming talent in the modern era.

Some exceptional talents are already established first-team regulars at 21, with Brennan Johnson and Djed Spence both younger than Harbottle.

Some careers take on different paths though and the defender certainly does look like a useful player.

The challenge for Harbottle now is to keep progressing and earn himself more first-team chances next season.

What has Brazil said about Forest talent Harbottle?

Brazil thinks 2022/23 could be a massive one for the under-23 star.

He has taken to Twitter in response to a fan who clearly has his finger on the pulse of the academy ranks.

The director of professional development has raved about Harbottle; tipping him to become a really big player in the future of Forest.

He does suggest that next season is vital though and that perhaps implies a loan is on the cards.

Several players from the academy have benefitted from loan spells and Harbottle could be next.

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