Taking a risk with Ryan Yates has certainly paid off, hasn’t it? Since Martin O’Neill gave him a chance in the Forest side, he hasn’t looked back, and what a decision it was the manager.
It was a brave choice to give the 21-year-old an opportunity in the centre of the park where usually experience is key, particularly in the Championship. However, since making his first appearance against Reading he’s fit in well and has solved an issue the club could have spent millions fixing.
Yates wasn’t in a single matchday squad until their 4-1 victory over Leeds in January, but here he is, having now started the last eight games. He’s a product of the youth academy, and that’s endeared him to the fans even more, bringing more positivity to the City Ground than there was before Martin O’Neill.
Forest sit 11thin the Championship and don’t have much of a chance at reaching the play-offs, so it’s obvious investment is needed in the summer to catch up with clubs above them. By promoting Yates into the first team, it means the club don’t have to buy someone like him in the summer, and instead they can concentrate on other areas.
His success also sends out a great message to the rest of squad, saying ‘if you work hard enough, you’ll get your chance’. This will keep existing first-choice players on their toes and give confidence to other young or out-of-favour players.
The Forest fans will always have a greater connection with one of their own, so promoting him, while saving money and sending out a positive message to the rest of the squad is a masterstroke that can gift O’Neill success in the long run.
Forest fans, how high do you think your club can finish this season? Join the discussion by commenting below…
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