Chris Hughton has revealed that he is unwilling to rush promising Nottingham Forest teenager Dale Taylor into his first-team plans despite his performances for the under-23 squad.
Hughton has a tendency to rely on senior players at times and it took him a while to really give perhaps Forest’s brightest young talent – Alex Mighten – a real chance in the senior side this season.
A more youthful element was added to the team in January with the signing of James Garner on loan from Manchester United, and towards the end of the season there may have been an expectation that a few more of Forest’s under-23 squad would get a chance.
That hasn’t transpired and one player who fans want to see make his first team bow is 17-year-old Taylor, who only signed his first professional deal in December.
Taylor has already made his senior debut for Linfield in Northern Ireland at the age of 15, and after prolifically scoring for Forest’s under-18’s, he’s recently stepped up to the under-23’s and has scored four times in his last four outings.
That’s impressive for someone of such a young age but in what may be disappointing to hear for some fans, Hughton isn’t considering calling Taylor up just yet.
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“My initial gut feeling is he’s probably not quite ready to be around the first-team, only because he’s a younger one,” said Hughton, per NottinghamshireLive.
“I have seen him. We had a training game with the under-23’s and I saw him play at Notts County’s ground.
“But he’s a younger one, and we’d probably need to see a fair bit more of him.
“But it’s certainly good to see any young players doing well, because as a club, we have to show that interest and have to show there is hopefully that pathway.”
With Forest’s front-line ageing quite a bit – all three senior strikers are over the age of 30 – supporters are probably keen to see a youngster break through and perhaps given a chance against Preston on the final day of the season.
Taylor’s form for the under-23’s is understandably getting him attention and as the old saying goes – if you’re good enough you’re old enough.
But Hughton’s decision is final and it doesn’t look like Forest fans will get to see Taylor in the first team for a little while, but he has a whole pre-season to impress and to try and force his way into the senior ranks at a very young age.