Nottingham Forest youngster Dale Taylor received a surprise call-up to Northern Ireland’s senior team last week for the upcoming internationals – and he’s impressing many in the camp.
The 17-year-old is yet to make his first-team debut for Forest, with the likes of Lewis Grabban and Lyle Taylor blocking that path and Chris Hughton was keen to let him learn his trade in the development squads before his departure.
Forest brought him in from Linfield in 2020 and that came after he scored a senior goal for the club at the age of 15, and despite his young age Taylor featured regularly for the Tricky Trees’ under-23’s at the back end of the 2020-21 season.
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Taylor hasn’t featured too much for Forest’s under-age squads this season so far but with a shortage of strikers for this batch of games, Northern Ireland boss Ian Baraclough has decided to give Taylor a chance after earning caps for the nation’s under-19’s.
It’s a chance that Taylor is set to take with both hands if called upon and one man he has impressed massively is Charlton Athletic striker Conor Washington, who has Championship experience himself with Queens Park Rangers.
“I think he’s got a really bright future and I’ve been really impressed with him to be honest,” Washington told the Belfast Telegraph.
“He looks very accomplished as a footballer which is not something you often say about a 17-year-old.
“I probably expected him to be a little more raw than he is, but he looks like a real talent. He’s also a good size for a 17-year-old.
“His movement and finishing looks quality but the biggest standout so far is that he looks very sure of himself at this level and around these players.
“That’s a real box ticked. He’s got that in abundance.”
It is somewhat surprising that Taylor hasn’t been given his Forest bow before being called up to Northern Ireland’s senior squad, but chances are he won’t actually get on the pitch this week.
However Steve Cooper was not been shy on blooding in young players at Swansea so this could give Taylor the platform to impress his new club boss and get into his plans going forward.
Forest fans seem to be really excited by Taylor on his performances for the under-23’s and 18’s last year and they’ll be looking for more of him going forward.
He could be the next talent to come through the academy that has produced so many good players and if he does get on the pitch for Northern Ireland then he could become a household name very quickly.