Jonathan Panzo was handed his Nottingham Forest debut on Saturday and he showcased what a useful player he can be in the future.
There was very little riding on Forest’s trip to Hull. A dream of automatic promotion had died at Bournemouth and play-offs had been secured weeks ago.
For Panzo, that saw a window of opportunity swing open. He was named ahead of Scott McKenna on the left of a back three, with the Scotland star handed a rest.
The 21-year-old had arrived from Dijon in January. Given the form of McKenna, Joe Worrall, Steve Cook and Tobias Figueiredo, however, patience was a virtue.
Panzo did well against Hull. It’s never easy making your debut but perhaps the nature of the game and what was riding on it helped.
The former England youth international didn’t look overawed, producing a calm and composed display against the Tigers.
Panzo has been restricted to under-23 outings thus far but some statistics from Saturday showcase that he’s ready for first-team football.
Who Scored shows that he made four clearances, two tackles and also that he passed the ball out from the back with relative ease.
His 87.3% pass success ratio was also the highest of all three centre-backs that featured in the Reds’ final game of the season.
Panzo handed Forest debut and now he’ll want more
The play-offs are unlikely to give Panzo any further chances to play. As a result, that might be the youngster done at senior level this season.
Still, he’s showcased that he’s ready for a role under Steve Cooper next season.
Figueiredo is out of contract in the summer; whilst Worrall could leave the club if the Premier League comes calling.
That could help Panzo. On the evidence of his debut he looks more than capable of competing with McKenna and Cook for a place in the Reds’ back three.
The former England youth international looked mature beyond his years on Saturday and he already looks like a shrewd addition to Cooper’s ranks.