‘Nottingham Forest rookie Ryan Yates has a touch of Roy Keane about him’

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Martin O'Neill, Manager of Nottingham Forest and Ryan Yates share a hug during the Sky Bet Championship match between West Bromwich Albion and Nottingham Forest at The Hawthorns on February 12, 2019 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Martin O'Neill, Manager of Nottingham Forest and Ryan Yates share a hug during the Sky Bet Championship match between West Bromwich Albion and Nottingham Forest at The Hawthorns on February 12, 2019 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Ryan Yates has only played three matches in a Forest shirt but the 21-year-old is already showing the same attributes as a young Roy Keane did back in the early nineties.

Although It’s nearly 30 years since I watched Keane burst onto the scene at Nottingham Forest, there are similarities between the Irishman’s game style and that of Yates in a red shirt.

Before I’m accused of getting carried away by attributing such comparisons, these are merely first impressions.

Nottingham Forest supporters have pleaded with the last few managers to throw the youngster into the side and he’s certainly vindicated those who’ve campaigned for him. As fans, we can however be forgiven for thinking that we know more than the professionals at times.

And, we’ve heard similar shouts for the likes of Ben Brereton, Arvin Appiah and even a handful for Toby Edser.

However, you need only read the comments from Yates’s adopted managers during his four different loan spells to envisage the kind of player he’s set to be.

Paul Cox, who had Yates at National League Barrow said the following about him: “He’s a diamond in terms of wanting to learn and wanting to get stronger, he rubs off on other people with his hunger and desire!”

The significance of the word “wanting” is nine-tenths of the law as far as this columnist is concerned.

Once a player signs his very first pro contract in today’s footballing world, the first question to be asked is what does he really want now?

The priority shouldn’t be the 70-thousand-pound car or the diamond encrusted Rolex, it should be playing at the highest possible standard and winning trophies, safe in the knowledge that you’re financially secure compared to the season ticket holders that contribute to the wage.

This is where Gary Brazil and Nottingham Forest Football Club have excelled themselves with the likes of Ryan Yates and Co. Although it’s a while since a player from the Nigel Doughty Academy has gone on to grace the Premier League, those who’ve made the step into the professional game are still working hard to improve.

OK, Matty Cash, Ben Osborn and Joe Worrall may not have hit the Zenith and may well never do but It’s clear to see that they want it, and that bodes well with the supporters.

Of course, many will argue that the players in question haven’t set the Championship alight and may be at their peak already? If that’s the case, then it’s up to the manager to acknowledge and rectify it. You can only give your best and nothing more.

Having watched Ryan Yates at close quarters in the last two matches, I’ve been immensely impressed with his all round game. The standard of opposition isn’t to be sniffed at either, both Brentford and West Brom are among the better class of footballing sides in the division.

Against Brentford, Yates seemed to be just everywhere and was the perfect partner for Ben Watson on the day. Watson broke things up industriously and allowed his young counterpart to drive into the spaces behind a very accomplished Bees midfield. Ryan yates was equally effective off the ball as he was on it, on several occasions he tracked his opposite number and made vital interceptions to turn over play.

Against West Bromwich Albion it was more of the same, you could see his confidence growing by the second. His involvement in both goals, one which he scored himself, was testament to his attitude and desire in a Forest shirt. The way in which Yates drove toward the back post for Forest’s opener was an undisputable example of how much he wanted to score; that word again, wanted!

I’m genuinely excited by the progression of Ryan Yates in a Forest shirt and seeing if he can indeed flourish into another Roy Keane.

Despite my previous comments about Keane’s managerial and punditry demeanour, I feel he’s the perfect man to evolve Yates into a superstar on the field of play like himself.