Despite their struggles in recent years, one positive at Nottingham Forest has always been their ability to produce highly talented players like Ben Brereton within their academy. The five-year ownership of Fawaz Al-Hasawi that ended this summer was undoubtedly turbulent, but this was one factor that was never affected by his mismanagement.
Former Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka has recently been named as Mark Warburton’s successor, and he will inherit a squad full of young talent that perhaps is in need of some experience for them to make a real push for promotion to the Premier League.
The 18-year-old striker has already started to gain the attention of a number of Premier League sides. He made his breakthrough at The City Ground last season and has continued to impress ever since with the quality of his performances.
We take a look at why he is attracting so much interest from the top flight.
A standout performance against Arsenal
Under the management of Gary Brazil, the Reds pulled off what was one of the biggest shocks of the FA Cup third round last weekend as they knocked holders Arsenal out of the competition as they beat the Gunners 4-2 at The City Ground. It was a hugely impressive performance from Forest with a number of their young players standing out.
A total of five academy products were included in the starting line-up including Jordan Smith, Joe Worrall, Matty Cash, Ben Osborn and Brereton. Tyler Walker, another product of Forest’s academy, also came off the bench and made an impact in the second-half. However, it was Brereton who gained the most attention for the trouble he caused Arsene Wenger’s side throughout.
Experienced defender and World Cup winner, Per Mertesacker, simply could not deal with his pace and power. His performance saw him pick up the man of the match award and will have impressed many top-flight scouts that may have been paying close attention.
The likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Everton, Crystal Palace, Leicester City and Liverpool are all said to be monitoring the striker’s progress.
Plenty of room for improvement
After witnessing his performance against one of the Premier League’s top sides, it is easy to forget that Brereton is just 18-years-old. He still has so much more to learn and so many aspects of his game to develop which makes his potential even more exciting.
It remains to be seen whether any Premier League sides will table a bid for the striker during this transfer window. However, it could be argued that the best place for Brereton to continue his development is at The City Ground under new manager Karanka, as the Spaniard looks to turn Forest’s fortunes around and get them moving up closer to the play-off places.
If he continues to develop as he is, then his time to shine in the top flight will most definitely come in the coming years. However, everyone connected with Forest will be hoping that it can be with them.