Nottingham Forest spent £150m over the summer in an ambitious effort to build a team that could compete comfortably in the Premier League this season. However, it hasn’t exactly worked out the way it was planned.
The Tricky Trees are currently 20th in the league table with just nine points from their first 13 outings so far, and Steve Cooper will undoubtedly be frustrated with how the season has started for his new-look team.
With 23 new signings, combining top-flight and international experience, it was hoped that Forest would’ve done enough in recruitment to retain their status in the top tier of English football but now Evangelos Marinakis will need to go back to the drawing board after the side’s struggles and poor performances.
However, instead of reaching into his pockets even deeper in January to fix the obvious problems in the attacking threat at The City Ground, he could save millions by encouraging Cooper to unearth some talent from the blossoming academy.
One player who has been a standout performer rising through the ranks at youth level on Trentside is Welsh centre midfielder Oliver Hammond.
The 19-year-old talent has been hard at work in the U18 and U21 teams, scoring eight goals and delivering two assists over 32 appearances so far from his role in the centre of the pitch.
The former Forest U18s captain has been lavished with praise in the past by The Athletic’s Paul Taylor who claimed that Hammond is a livewire.
He said: “Oliver Hammond is an 18-year-old who apparently has Duracell batteries in him. Can get around the pitch with lots of energy.”
The teenager committed his future to the Tricky Trees when he signed his professional contract in March last year, which led to even more praise for his by U18s head coach Gareth Holmes, who stated:
“He’s shown an excellent commitment and desire to learn throughout his scholarship.”
“He plays with energy and intelligence. He needs to continue to work hard to increase his involvement with the 23s and beyond.”
Cooper is clearly keen on the talented teenager as he spent the entirety of pre-season training with the senior team, and must have impressed his fellow Wales native as he was featured on the bench for two games this term which will be a huge confidence boost for the youngster.
With that being said, the future is looking bright for Hammond at Nottingham Forest and if he can continue to flourish with the U21s there is no doubt that he could earn a place in the senior team sooner rather than later.