Nottingham Forest fans will undoubtedly be excited to see Brennan Johnson pull on a Garibaldi shirt next season.
The 19-year-old has enjoyed a fruitful campaign on loan in Sky Bet League One with Lincoln City, playing an influential role for the Imps in their bid for a top-six finish.
Johnson’s game has gone up a level since joining the Imps, and he has gone from strength to strength since making his professional Forest debut last term.
The midfielder – who made his international debut for Wales in November – scored his first professional hat-trick in a 4-0 home win for Lincoln over MK Dons last night.
Johnson has now scored 12 goals in all competitions this season, and has chipped in with a number of assists for Michael Appleton’s side as well.
Johnson’s main priority for the short-term will be helping Lincoln cement their place in the top-six and test their luck in the lottery of the play-offs.
But looking ahead to next season, the teenager will be keen to earn a starting berth at Forest under Chris Hughton and become a standout performer in the Championship.
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Johnson’s game, as alluded to before, has changed a lot since making his professional debut last season. He was used as a box-to-box midfielder under Sabri Lamouchi in his brief cameos last season, but he has operated in more of an attacking role for Lincoln this term.
Johnson, who has slotted in as a left winger in a 4-2-3-1 system this season, operated as a left-sided attacking midfielder in a 4-1-2-3 set-up last night.
It’s clear to see where Johnson may fit in at Forest, then, given that Chris Hughton’s preferred formation is 4-2-3-1, whether that be out wide on the left or as a number 10.
Forest’s current first-choice number 10, Filip Krovinovic, is only on loan at the City Ground, so a lot could hinge on whether the Reds pursue a permanent deal. When defending, Krovinovic slots into a three-man midfield and operates as a number 8, which has similarities with the role Johnson played for Lincoln last night in the 4-1-2-3 setup.
In terms of out wide on the left, Johnson isn’t a natural, left-footed wide option, and that role would see him cut inside and pick up half-spaces as an inverted winger. With Sammy Ameobi out of contract at the end of the season, there could be scope for the 19-year-old to be a ready-made replacement.
Johnson would give Hughton plenty of options in the final third and is likely to provide plenty of headaches. But the most important thing, regardless of where he plays, is that he is an option, and a potentially very exciting one at that.