Ryan Yates enjoyed a memorable 2018-19 campaign with Nottingham Forest, but will the next prove to be as productive?
He certainly hopes so!
The 21-year-old is a product of the Reds’ famed academy system and intends to stick around.
That decision may be taken out of his hands.
Loan spells have already been taken in at Barrow, Shrewsbury, Notts County and Scunthorpe.
That experience stood him in good stead last term.
Aitor Karanka claimed to be a fan, but offered up few competitive minutes.
Martin O’Neill was more generous.
Yates took in 17 appearances across all competitions and opened his senior goal account for the club.
Early performances drew plenty of praise.
There was then an inevitable dip, with adrenaline only carrying you so far, but he returned to the fold to close out the season.
His energy and boundless enthusiasm adds important qualities to the Forest side.
There are, however, questions over his best role.
And his standing in the pecking order.
Which could go one of two ways with another transfer window open.
Forest are hardly being linked with a wealth of potential midfield options.
After all, they already have plenty of bodies on board in that area.
Jack Colback will hopefully return to the City Ground for a third spell, on a permanent deal this time, but outside of that… not a lot.
That situation could change, but Yates is ready for anything.
He has told the Nottingham Post: “I don’t really read that kind of stuff.
“If anyone comes, I’ll give them the same respect as everybody else.
“If someone does come and they are a really good player, then it’s only going to help me. I want these top players to come in every position, not just my own position.”
Great to hear.
And the kind of words you would expect from a humble and affable youngster who is living out his boyhood dream.
As a home-grown talent, Yates has Forest’s best interests at heart.
He, as much as anyone, wants the club to be successful and reclaim a standing among the Premier League elite.
What part he plays in that process is open to interpretation.
O’Neill has the final say for now, and Yates is a player he clearly rates.
Forest do, however, have plenty of options to fill a holding role – with Colback potentially to come.
What the Reds need is more creativity in the middle of the park.
Not a No. 10 of the Carvalho mould, more somebody who is capable of linking the defensive and attacking thirds.
A bridge through the middle of the park.
Preferably with an eye for goal.
Yates could, in time, tick those boxes, but for now it remains to be seen whether the competition he is open to embracing ends up working for or against him.