Premier League XI – Ex Reds In Action

A couple of noticeable performances in the Premier League this weekend for former footballers of Nottingham Forest has given us at Nottingham Sport the chance to review just how well these players are doing and what the future lies ahead for them in the top tier of English football.

Here’s what we make of the ex-reds in action this weekend gone as your former Forest favourites now grace the Premier League for various teams across the country.

No 1: Goalkeeper: Karl Darlow (Newcastle United)

Chances have been few and far between for Karl Darlow since promotion with Newcastle United to the Premier League. Following a full season in goal for the 2016/17 Championship winners after signing from Forest he since fell back behind Martin Dubravka in the pecking order but has been recently recalled to start this season and was exceptional in goal as his antics played a huge part in the toon earning a late draw at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

Some world-class saves kept the likes of Harry Kane and Heung Min Son at bay and in this kind of form Darlow could win back his place and reach some of that promise he often shown whilst wearing the green jersey at the City Ground.

Premier League Grade So Far: C-

No 2: Right Back: Matty Cash (Aston Villa)

A player of just two Premier League games after signing for Aston Villa in the summer but one already fastly becoming a star to watch as he maraudes down the right wing in claret and blue. Already the Villa fans are taking to this swashbuckling footballer and in two games whilst Cash has been key for Villa the side have won both their Premier League games without conceding a goal.

A long way to go before Cash establishes himself as atop footballer at the level but world is his oyster, the only thing standing between him and a potential England cap unfortunately however is a list of top quality right backs as long as Peter Shilton’s arms.

Premier League Grade So Far: A-

No 3: Left Back: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton)

It feels an awfully long time ago (and it was) when back in 2010 a young Ryan Bertrand made his debut for Forest at Burnley whilst on loan from Chelsea. Then, earmarked as a future England international stepping down a level to get to grips with fast throttle football, Bertrand did himself proud in his six months at the City Ground.

Since then a European Cup winner and an Olympian with 19 caps for England Bertrand moved to Southampton in 2014 initially on loan and has been a regular at left back ever since. His performances under Ralph Hassenhuttl especially have been impressive and Bertrand now 31 is one of the Saints first names on the team-sheet just after Danny Ings of course.

Premier League Grade So Far: B+

No 4: Centre Back: Jamaal Lascelles (Newcastle United)

Was part of the deal that took himself and Karl Darlow to Newcastle United for big money from Forest. Since signing for the Magpies, Lascelles has become one of the divisions most consistent central defenders a captain of his club with more than 150 appearances to his name.

Reliable and solid, dependable and a leader, at 26 he is yet to win an England cap but no one would see surprise should he be one day called up. A key player for a team that do not score many goals, Newcastle with Lascelles at the helm of defence don’t concede many either which is testament to his leadership and ability.

Premier League Grade So Far: B

No 5: Centre Back: Jack Robinson (Sheffield United)

Surprisingly signed for the Blades last season after Sabri Lamouchi gave Chris Wilder the go ahead to make an offer for a player who wasn’t always Reds first choice. Dependable at centre half or at left back, Robinson has often filled in the back three at United in the left hand side of defence.

Came in for the suspended John Egan at the weekend and did ok against Leeds in the Yorkshire Derby but as Sheffield United so far struggle to find any of last seasons form it could be a long old season for him and his side.

Premier League Grade So Far: C-

No 6: Right Midfield: Michael Antonio (West Ham United)

Doing a job on the right just as he did in his Forest days, Antonio now often used as a striker by David Moyes is on his day, one of the most unplayable opponents a defender can face. After signing for West Ham for £7m from Forest back in 2016, Antonio was often played as a wing back before his conversion to an out and out number nine even breaking into the England squad in 2016 before withdrawing with injury.

Since lockdown and football without fans his form has been brilliant for West Ham where he has played over 135 times scoring 37 goals in total. Part of the side that won convincingly v Wolves on Sunday he is already off the mark for the campaign scoring against Arsenal the week previous.

Premier League Grade So Far: A-

No 7: Left Midfield: Ollie Burke (Sheffield United)

A player who looked to have everything as a teenager at Nottingham Forest before surprisingly moving for a fee believed to be £13m to RB Leipzig. Burke’s career thus far has not really taken off in the way fans would have thought and himself would have hoped.

After showing promise in Germany he struggled to break into the talented Leipzig side eventually leaving for West Bromwich Albion although he never settled at the Hawthorns either. A spell on loan at Celtic offered enough incentive for Chris Wilder to take a gamble and despite leading the line on his United debut on his own for the majority of the match against Aston Villa where they had ten men, his two appearances so far have yet to see the Blades score.

Premier League Grade So Far: D-

No 8: Centre Midfield: Ben Osborn (Sheffield United)

Often criticised whilst at Forest by some unforgiving fans, one of the clubs own academy prospects and one with 230 appearances for the club and a memorable winner at Derby too, one that initially warmed the hearts of Blades fans due to his energy and workrate, a player that works hard in a way that Chris Wilder could certainly get the best out of his ethics.

Ozzy has impressed and worked hard as we would all expect in his fifteen Sheffield United appearances so far, whether the Premier League is a level too far for a player that can comfortably do it in the Championship is a question that will this season be answered. No question about it though, Osborn is one of those players that will always do the best he can and he’ll continue to give everything on the pitch to prove his worth.

Premier League Grade So Far: C-

No 9: Centre Forward: Patrick Bamford (Leeds United)

After making only two league appearances for Nottingham Forest as a teenager Bamford was sold to Chelsea in 2012 in a move that helped the Reds financially at a time when they needed it most. At Chelsea, who he never ever played for, he was loaned out six times before finally joining Middlesbrough on a permanent deal in 2016.

Having joined Leeds in 2018 his goals helped Marcelo Bielsa’s side to a long awaited Premier League return this summer and grabbed the winner in his third Peacocks game in the Premier League against Sheffield United after scoring in Leeds season opener at Liverpool.

Premier League Grade So Far: C

No 10: Centre Forward: Billy Sharp (Sheffield United)

Now aged 34 it was last season when Sharp finally got his Premier League reward after 15 years in the professional game. A predatory striker down the levels he came to Forest on loan from Southampton and won the hearts of many with his hard work and goalscoring exploits.

Last season Sharp managed three Premier League goals in 25 appearances, whether he’ll play as many this time around is a big ask for one now at the twilight of his football career. A player who probably left it too late to play in the Premier League but one who no one would begrudge finally made it at the top.

Premier League Grade So Far: D

No 11: Centre Forward: David McGoldrick (Sheffield United)

One of five players in our team that has featured this season for Sheffield United, and one that has come up the football ladder the hard way having played for a number of clubs including both Nottingham Forest and Notts County.

Locally born McGoldrick was part of the Sheffield United team that gained promotion in 2018/19 and after 25 games last season finally got his first ever top flight goals against Chelsea. Epitomises the way United play, hard and fair but has struggled for goals since moving up to the highest step and now aged 32 could be soon traded in for a younger model. An Irish International with 13 caps a player that will always give his all, but one where perhaps the Championship will get the best out of him.

Premier League Grade So Far: D-

*Main image @NUFC Karl Darlow was in magnificent form for Newcastle at the weekend.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *