Tiago Silva has slipped seamlessly into the Nottingham Forest fold, but will be aware that a fellow Portuguese is watching over his shoulder.

Joao Carvalho is counting down the days until he is ready for a return to action.

It would be a surprise, given his current lack of fitness and sharpness, if he were thrown straight into the side.

His is a talent to be nurtured and wrapped in cotton wool, not thrown in at the deep end.

Sabri Lamouchi has no need to take selection gambles.

As alluded to, Silva has been doing just fine in the No. 10 role.

He may be cut from the same diminutive cloth as Carvalho, but has quickly shown that size doesn’t always matter.

A goal and assist have already been recorded by the 26-year-old schemer in the famous Garibaldi.

He looks at home pulling the strings and obviously has the full faith of his manager.

Silva can also count Reds legend Kenny Burns among a growing army of supporters.

Benefit

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

The European Cup winner has told the Nottingham Post: “One player that I think will find it difficult to get back into the side will be Joao Carvalho.

“Lamouchi hasn’t had the benefit of seeing him play really, bearing in mind he went off in the first half at Alfreton Town at the end of June and has been out since.

“The Reds have signed no shortage of players since that day including Tiago Silva, a player that has really impressed me.

“In some ways he’s very similar to Carvalho, in the way he moves and his ability to pick a pass.

“One thing which he strikes me as better than his countryman as is when it comes to being tackled, how he can ride a challenge or get up quickly.

“In the Championship, flair players like Silva and Carvalho are always going to be a target, blimey, I’d certainly have let them know I was around.

“Silva just seems a bit more robust and willing to deal with the physicality that comes with playing in this country and in that league.

“I’m not suggesting Carvalho can’t adapt, but I really do think he’ll struggle to get into this starting XI.”

Burns makes a valid enough point in his assessment of Silva.

He has shown himself to have the stomach for a fight and is yet to back down from any challenge.

In fact, a few robust ones of his own were put in on the opening day against West Brom.

Carvalho is not the type to trouble the ankles of opponents with his studs.

Trickery

 

He is, however, capable of breaking a few when it comes to the undoubted trickery up his sleeve.

And it is that which continues to make him such a key figure for Forest.

Last season, when the 22-year-old found himself out of favour, the Reds struggled for creativity at times.

They now have those qualities in abundance.

Alongside Carvalho and Joe Lolley, the likes of Silva, Albert Adomah and Sammy Ameobi have become shrewd additions.

Forest now boast more than one ace up their sleeve.

There is, however, only one joker in the pack and Carvalho is still the man with the Midas touch.

Silva has done a fine job so far, as pointed out by Burns, but to suggest that a playmaking post is now his to lose may be going a little over the top.

Carvalho has 12 months of experience in England over a compatriot, a £13 million price tag and the ability to pick the tightest of locks.

He won’t expect to be gifted a starting berth upon his return, but should feel that a countryman is merely keeping his shirt warm.