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2 things we’ve clearly learnt about Brennan Johnson at Nottingham Forest so far this season

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Perhaps the biggest achievement of the transfer window for Nottingham Forest was keeping hold of their two homegrown stars Joe Worrall and Brennan Johnson.

Both players attracted plenty of interest from the Premier League over the course of the summer, with the latter attracting admiring glances from newly-promoted Brentford.

The Bees tried hard for Johnson over the course of the summer, but Forest stood firm and rejected multiple bids for the Wales international.

Johnson has been a bright spark in what has been a lacklustre start to the season for Forest, since returning to the City Ground following a loan spell at Lincoln City last season.

The 20-year-old scored his first professional goal for the Reds in last weekend’s draw with Derby County, as Chris Hughton’s side picked up their first point of the season.

With the international break upon us, we take a look at two things we have clearly learnt about Brennan Johnson at Forest so far this season.

His versatility

Soccer Football – Championship – Derby County v Nottingham Forest – Pride Park, Derby, Britain – August 28, 2021 Nottingham Forest’s Brennan Johnson celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

In fairness, this is something we knew about Johnson during parts of last season. He left Forest having played as a central midfielder under Sabri Lamouchi, but played out wide under Michael Appleton for the Imps.

Since returning to Forest, though, Hughton has utilised him more as a shadow striker, operating in the number 10 role behind either Lewis Grabban or Lyle Taylor.

At times, Hughton has opted to change things around and utilise Johnson’s pace out wide, perhaps when the chips are down and Forest are in need of a goal, as was the case against Derby last weekend.

As Forest look to tie Johnson down to a new deal at the City Ground, The Athletic also suggest that the long-term plan for the midfielder could be to use him more as a false nine, or somebody who could even lead the line.

When you have a young player of Johnson’s attacking instincts, it is good to have so many strings in one bow.

His fearlessness

Soccer Football – Championship – Derby County v Nottingham Forest – Pride Park, Derby, Britain – August 28, 2021 Nottingham Forest’s Brennan Johnson celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

For someone who has only just left his teenage years behind him, Johnson possesses so much confidence and fearlessness in his game.

In his first league game back in Garibaldi colours – a 2-1 defeat at Coventry City – Johnson received the ball on halfway, beyond embarking on a lung-bursting run forward. The winger then rolled a perfectly-weighted ball across goal for Lyle Taylor to tap in.

Any other player, especially of that age, wouldn’t have been blamed for passing when he received it. Johnson, however, believed in his own pace and strength, and crafted a wonderful opening goal for the Reds.

The same almost happened against Derby last weekend. Johnson received the ball out wide, but a heavy first touch suggested that he may have checked back and passed to a teammate.

Instead, he dug in, drove forward and beat his marker for pace, before firing an effort narrowly wide. He was to make up for that miss, though, firing powerfully beyond Kelle Roos with a first-time finish to earn Forest a late point.


Nottingham-based journalist who regularly covers Nottingham Forest home and away.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: 2 things we’ve clearly learnt about Brennan Johnson at Nottingham Forest so far this season

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