Nottingham Forest midfielder Pelé made a good impression in his debut against Hull City at the weekend. 

Martin O’Neill opted to give him the nod in the starting line-up ahead of Ben Watson.

It’s fair to say that it was the correct decision. The 27-year-old produced a very impressive performance at the City Ground.

Considering he hadn’t played since 9 January, his performance was even more commendable. After making a shaky start against the Tigers, he gradually grew in confidence as the match developed.

The Reds had both Pelé and Jack Colback sat in front of the back four, tidying things up in midfield throughout. This is a key reason why Costel Pantilimon wasn’t really tested until injury time.

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Pelé looked far more than just that though. Not only is he physically strong and capable of putting a tackle in, he also has the ability to pick out a pass.

He arguably offers far more to the team than Watson. however, it’s still very early days, and it remains to be seen whether Pelé can produce this level of performance consistently.

He’s already being compared to former Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira and, perhaps more sensibly, ex-Red Guy Moussi.

‘More to come’ from Pelé, says boss

Having thrown him into the starting line-up against the Tigers, O’Neill would’ve been fully aware that it was a gamble. But it was one that paid off.

If Pelé does produce similar performances on a consistent basis, he could play a key role in the Reds potentially gatecrashing the play-offs.

(Photo by Jon Hobley/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Speaking to the Nottingham Post after the game, O’Neill said: “I thought that Pelé was absolutely outstanding for us.

 

“That is something that will help us, through the course of the rest of the season.

“That game will bring him on physically, because he had not played in some time, and that performance will help his confidence as well.”

‘He’s like Vieira’

Seat Pitch rounded up exactly what Reds supporters had to say about the midfielder’s performance against the Tigers.

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