This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Scuppered at the last minute.
Ryan Yates finally gets back into the groove of things with his appearance last week against Hull City, then his chances of making his second appearance at the City Ground in a week were cut short when the Reading game was postponed before kick-off.
Writing in the matchday programme (via Nottinghamshire Live), the 21-year-old midfielder spoke about his frustrations at missing the whole of pre-season as well as the first couple of months of the campaign:
“I have had 12 weeks on the sidelines and to get back out there for 30 minutes is all I could have asked for. It has been frustrating for me, I had hardly kicked a ball then had my surgery and it was rehab from then on.
“A lot of hard work has gone in behind the scenes from all the staff trying to get me back out on the pitch and it finally happened. It felt good to get that reception from the fans for my comeback.”
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Having not been seen since last season, last Wednesday was his first chance to make an impression under Sabri Lamouchi. However, does he have a long-term future under the Frenchman?
Given Lamouchi’s desire to play a 4-2-3-1 formation this season, it would make more sense for him to be slotted into the defensive midfield role alongside Samba Sow, and help dictate play from deep.
The problem for him though, is that his numbers in terms of tackles per game are much lower than the incumbent for that role right now in 34-year-old Ben Watson.
It’s possible that he’s seen as the long-term replacement for Watson, whose contract is up at the end of the season (via Transfermarkt), but until then it could be a very long time until he manages to nail down a place in the starting eleven.
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He could take his talents and push further up the field, potentially acting as a creative number ten behind a centre-forward like Lewis Grabban. However, he has only played that position three times in his career so it would be a bit unnatural to see him in that position any time soon.
Forcing himself into the team, therefore, will be tricky.