Joao Carvalho is capable of becoming a Stan Collymore-esque figure for Nottingham Forest in the modern era, Colin Barrett has told Seat Pitch.
The Portuguese playmaker is very much the ace in the Reds’ pack.
Like Collymore, and John Robertson before him, the £13 million man boasts that sprinkling of match-winning magic dust.
Consistency still needs to be added to his game, while the rough and tumble of the Championship has taken some getting used to, but the 22-year-old is considered to be special.
“You need that somebody who gives you that spark, who gets you going,” European Cup-winning hero Barrett told Seat Pitch.
“Robbo used to do it in my day. Stan Collymore – it’s a little bit different what Stan used to do, but he used to raise the roof and that’s what you need. When you get these players performing at their best, there is nothing better to watch.
“What they can give you is that the crowd get up, everyone’s on the up and the opposition are thinking to themselves ‘we’ve got a game on here’. You aren’t going to get that every single game but what you can do with Carvalho is what he showed in the equaliser against Preston, when he came on and passed the ball through.
“There was a good little bit of passing the other day at Swansea, with everyone talking about the reverse pass, so he’s got vision and provided you have got people around making runs and in the right spaces, I think he can find them.
“You just have to accept the fact that it won’t come off all the time. But it’s vital that you have that kind of player in your side.”
Carvalho has been on a steep learning curve since arriving at the City Ground as part of a club-record deal in the summer of 2018.
There was early promise, an expected dip and a humbling spell stuck on the bench.
With a full year under his belt and an unfortunate pre-season injury shaken off, much is now expected from a man with the potential to lead a charge for a top-six finish.
“If you take all of the other things out of his game and just allow him to perform and let him do what he wants to do and accept that you aren’t going to get the hard tackling, the hard grafting and a hard midfield player, then he’s vital to Forest in terms of what he can create,” Barrett added.
“You might have to carry him in some games but at least it’s worthwhile carrying him because what he can give you is the opportunity to score goals. That’s what you need, someone to create.
“I’m not saying he doesn’t work hard, I’m just saying there will be some games where it will be more physical, where he won’t be able to compete with some of these lads. I think he has got an awful lot to offer. He’s still a young boy, he’s still got time on his side and he’s still learning. He’s a very valuable asset to Forest.”
Carvalho made his first start of 2019-20 away at Swansea last weekend and will be hoping to keep his place in Sabri Lamouchi’s XI for a home date with Barnsley on Saturday.