Nottingham Forest head coach Steve Cooper has said that he’s proud of defender Moussa Niakhate. The Reds incumbent was quizzed on the defender after a 1-0 win over Arsenal ensured their Premier League safety.

Niakhate missed the majority of the 2022/23 campaign. He suffered a serious hamstring injury in August and didn’t return to action until the end of March.

Cooper Forest
(Photo; Marc Atkins; Getty Images)

The 27-year-old is a huge player in the Reds’ defensive unit. Since his return, his quality has been there for all to see and he will be a big player next season.

Niakhate was added to the Forest ranks for £12 million in the summer. He had been at Mainz for a number of years, captaining the team for the best part of 18 months.

Cooper has been delighted with the way that the Senegal international has returned. He gatecrashed his interview with BBC Radio Nottingham to hand praise to his defender.

He said in his post-match interview: “This guy showed an unbelievable attitude to recovering from injury. His mentality has been amazing and I’m proud of him.

“To come back from the injury that he had and make the impact that he has is going to make him stronger.”

Cooper proud of Forest star Niakhate after challenging season

During his time at Mainz, Niakhate was rarely injured. He played more often than not and this simply proves that the law of sod is alive and well.

Next season will be massive for the defender. He will hope to stay fit for the entire campaign and help the Reds kick on up the Premier League.

Cooper Forest
(Photo; Will Palmer; Sportsphoto; Allstar; Getty Images)

Second-season syndrome is often spoken about for newly promoted sides. Niakhate will hope to help Forest in their quest to dismiss the notion.

Niakhate is a fan favourite. He deserves all the plaudits for the way he’s bounced back and in the 13 games he’s played for the club he’s often been brilliant.

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