The recent weeks have the recall of the previously maligned Jonathan greening. In these past few weeks Greening has shone, and been the player we hoped we were signing nigh on 3 years ago under Steve McClaren.
Back then Greening was making the drop down from Fulham in the Premiership, after a career that took in Middlesbrough West Brom and Manchester United after starting at York. With United he won a Champions League Winners medal in 1999, being an unused sub.
For most of his Forest career he was synonymous with the McClaren era, and signings. High profile, highly paid, and underwhelming. Indeed his being anywhere near the team was met with groans. For the last two home games however, he has the been the star player for Forest.
With a younger player in his circumstance, like Ishmael miller, the resurgent form would be indicative of a player whose contract is ending so is performing for a new deal. At 35 Greening though, is beyond this stage of his career. He's already started moving to the coaching side, and indeed that’s where his main role has been this season.
What has especially helped in the last few home games is teams sitting back and defending and allowing time on the ball. With time on the ball Greening can turn round and pick his pass. Before he was getting abuse for passing back or side wards because he was getting closed down quicker. Additionally this is in part due to 2 defensive minded midfielders meaning more space. The opposition has to pick up the advanced midfielder, allowing space, if that doesn’t happen, the midfield advance to close down Greening, meaning the old back passes and passing to central defenders.
Not that always a bad thing, as keeping possession is better than giving it away with a needless forward pass, but a majority of fans don’t appreciate this nuance. The English crowd wants advancement and isn't content with a slower build up, like on the continent.
But in those two games the only positive has been greening. Especially last night. It is interesting to see it occur, and this was the player we always had, but just never flourished. Was he used wrongly? Maybe. Was he never given a chance? Well no he did get given those chances. I think the added element of the pressure being off him, after all these are games no-one expected to see him in a few weeks ago have meant he can play a natural game without an unexpected turn of form to the season anyway. I doubt anyone of us expected to see him come in, never mind play starring roles.