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Thursday, 24 April 2014

Emergence of Osborn


The emergence in recent weeks of Ben Osborn, coupled with appearances from McLaughlin and Evtimov has seen a rekindle love for the emergence of youth team prospects. It is always a badge of honour for clubs to produce their own and after a barren few years to now have three first team players being academy graduates is nothing but a good thing.

We have a proud history of producing our own. Des Walker, Nigel Clough, Steve Stone, mark Crossley, Steve Chettle, Steve Hodge are all players that you don't have to be too long in the tooth to remember.

Lascelles and Darlow recently progressed from promising youngsters to first team regulars, and to be fair, they were the first in a long time. The only exceptions to that rule are obviously Lewis McGugan, James Perch, and slightly less so Eugen Bopp.

An exception could and should be Patrick Bamford. Our product, contracted by Chelsea, performing for Derby. Ideally he'd be in a Red shirt too, but that is a whole different argument that’s been had before.
Numerous youngsters have appeared for a game or two in crises but none have stayed there. It has been said this was a legacy of the League One wilderness years, that when down there promising local kids would go to Derby or Leicester instead, and we'd be left with the also ran's.

After the golden crop of Dawson, Reid, Jenas, Prutton, Harewood and Williams we've had scant few youngsters make the grade. And except for McGugan none consistently. Many came in for bursts and look ok, but never a first team player.

Chris Doig looked ok but never really made it, Barry Roche has mooched around the lower divisions since looking promising for a couple of games. Gregor Robertson has dropped down to League Two after brief cameos. Carlos Merino bounced around the lower Spanish Leagues for a few years. Bopp plummeted through the leagues after his release, last ending up for York, so for all people lauded him, he never made the grade.

The list of these could be endless, Craig Westcarr, Felix Bastians, Keith Foy, Niall Rodney. It's a list of players used in an emergency that we all got excited about, and then promptly get forgotten. Perch and McGugan remain at the same level of Forest and arguably this is their highest level they can expect to achieve. The rest have ended up in the bottom rungs of football, and very rarely do they come back and prove us wrong (Shaun Wright-Phillips excepted)

But then this is the case anywhere really. Every club has legacies of youngsters coming in for a few games and then never quite fulfilling that promise and disappearing into the lower league / non-league obscurity.
That’s why I feel it best to preach a little restraint with Ben Osborn and any of his crop coming through, to not put too much pressure or faith in them being a star. I'm not saying his career will go the same way; it's hard to tell if it will. But neither is it wise to say we found a new star in the making. A few players seemed to wilt under first team pressure after promising starts. So stay patient and offer support. It's best to just see them playing in a pressure free environment, and let their game develop. Hopefully Osborn can develop into a good squad player, and even a first teamer. To expect any more I feel at times applies too much pressure

I'm not saying don't expect anything as that’s wrong too. But consider how much we expected of Paul McGregor and co when they came though, and all the limelight he captured. Keep the light off them, and let them do their own thing. Develop their game without the added pressure of being the clubs saviour and next big thing. Afterall whats allowing him to shine is the pressure free environment of thinking the season was over. It's allowed him to settle. Had we truly been in the mix things may have gone differently.

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