Former Nottingham Forest player Gregor Robertson says he sympathises with club-record signing Joao Carvalho following the 3-1 defeat against Aston Villa on Wednesday, in his latest Nottingham Post column.
Well, the 22-year-old has found first-team minutes hard to come by since Martin O’Neill arrived at The City Ground, but he was handed his first Championship start under the Irishman for the visit of the Villans having netted in the win against Hull City days earlier.
However, the Portuguese attacker wasn’t able to influence proceedings as he did against the Tigers, which surely would have left both his manager and the fans unimpressed given his price tag and the clear ability that he has.
Robertson saw it slightly differently though, believing that the personnel and lack of key players was the real reason Carvalho struggled.
He wrote in The Nottingham Post: “Yes, Carvalho gave the ball away needlessly a few times, and it he is capable of a moment of brilliance to light up a game like that wonder-strike last Saturday.
“But it was hard not to feel a little sympathy for the 22-year-old who, having been given his first start under O’Neill, found himself in a team without Lewis Grabban, Daryl Murphy or Matty Cash to link-up with, or even Ben Osborn unshackled from defensive duties.”
He certainly is.
As he mentioned in the article, the former Benfica man isn’t full of pace and able to run at and beat opposition players.
Check out Max’s verdict on Forest’s impressive 3-0 win over Hull in the video below…
He is more of a technical footballer that needs good movement and touches around him, and he simply didn’t have that on Wednesday.
There is no doubt that if he had Grabban, Cash and Joe Lolley around him it would certainly help, but it remains to be seen whether there is a spot in the XI for him if all three of those players are on the pitch – it would rely on O’Neill taking a risk during the run-in.