It’s safe to say that Ryan Yates has been a man who has divided opinions amongst the Nottingham Forest fan base in recent years.
However, last night his cameo off the substitutes bench proved how crucial he is to Steve Cooper’s side.
25-year-old Yates was brought on in the 69th minute in place of Orel Mangala, in a substitute that saw the momentum swing back in the Reds’ favour.
Yates was joined off the bench by Anthony Elanga which saw the Reds revert from a 5-2-2-1 to a more attacking 4-2-3-1 in search of the winner.
In his 21-minute spell on the pitch, Yates took the game by the scruff of the neck, providing a real top-quality display in the closing stages.
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A Ryan Yates masterclass
Last night was a true Yates masterclass, with Forest looking much more comfortable with his leadership in the middle of the park.
The ‘superb‘ Yates provided a needed voice to the midfield, dragging players around him forward in search of all three points, which came eventually courtesy of Chris Wood’s header.
His game management was also absolutely top-tier. 93rd minute, he takes the ball to the corner holding off two Sheffield United players – preserving a valuable win for the Reds.
Despite playing only 21 minutes, the midfielder made two interceptions, three recoveries and two tackles as he added some bite into a Reds side that were sleepwalking their way into a disappointing result.
He may not possess the technical ability of the likes of Danilo and Morgan Gibbs-White, but Yates is a true warrior that breaks up the play, allowing the likes of the names mentioned to shine in forward areas.
The cameo last night has proven the qualities that the Forest Academy graduate adds to the side, a certain starter going forward for sure.