Nottingham Forest boss Aitor Karanka has completely revamped the first-team squad at the City Ground in under a year. A host of new names, many of them experienced pros at this level, have arrived as Forest look to turn themselves into promotion candidates.
They certainly look a more organised and more likely promotion outfit now. However, there has certainly been one side-effect that will have some Forest fans disappointed.
When Forest, under the guidance of youth boss Gary Brazil, defeated Arsenal in the FA Cup last season, youth was the key.
Now, under Karanka, many of those youngsters have seen their style and playing time stifled.
Joe Worrall, once valued at over £10 million, has been sent out on loan to Rangers after falling out of favour with Karanka. Ben Brereton, the talented striker once linked with Liverpool, has joined Blackburn on a deal that should become permanent. Jordan Smith has been discarded in goal. Ben Osborn’s influence has dwindled, with Karanka preferring experienced midfield operators.
It is a shame to see so many of Brazil’s boys essentially cast aside.
Middlesbrough fans probably could have informed Forest’s faithful this would happen. Only Matty Cash appears to have survived, with the 21-year-old having an excellent start to this season.
Karanka favours pragmatism and experience over exuberance and youth. It might just sneak Nottingham Forest into the play-off picture. But at the price of losing their tradition as developers of young talent? That seems a heavy price to pay.