Finding positives in a 5-0 defeat is never easy. But exposing your young prospects to the experience of an EFL Cup tie against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium is always a good place to start.
Unsurprisingly it was the young prospect players of Nottingham Forest that were able to hold their heads high as they headed down the tunnel at the Emirates stadium as 5-0 victims.
We look at two that shone…
The 18-year-old signed a new long-term contract with Forest just days before he made his fourth appearance for the club against the top Premier League side.
His first start for the club came in the previous round of the competition where they bettered East Midlands rivals Derby County 3-0. The youngster is making quite a name for himself and will definitely make more appearances for the Reds come the end of the season.
For such a young player, he was level-headed and composed on the ball and distributed the ball well under the lights at the Emirates. Equally, he showed an admirable amount of aggression and confidence to tear into the likes of Mesut Ozil and Joe Willock.
Given the ilk of the opposition, Johnson was forced to play further back than he might be used to. He showed a maturity to quickly adapt to that position and a discipline beyond his years to maintain the position and not get drawn out forward unnecessarily.
The youngster might have only managed little under 15 minutes against Arsenal, but he, like Johnson, was one of the few players who played without any fear and got the travelling supporters off their seats with his crunching challenges.
It was the academy product’s first-team debut for the side, and you can imagine that it won’t be his last. The right-back came on at 4-0 down and still showed the hunger, desire and work ethic you’d expect to see of a defender holding out a 1-0 lead in the dying minutes.
He was another one that got the crowd roaring with passion after flying into well-timed challenges and looking to drive with the ball down the right-wing. His performance made a big statement to Sabri Lamouchi.