Nottingham Forest midfielder Ryan Yates has admitted he has already become a ‘better player’ under Steve Cooper since the Welshman’s arrival a fortnight ago, speaking candidly to Nottinghamshire Live.
The 23-year-old was one of several players criticised for the East Midlands outfit’s start to the campaign, with his performances in the middle of the park coming under particular scrutiny.
He was part of a side that had won just one point from a possible 21 in their opening seven league games after a dire start to the campaign under Chris Hughton, who was sacked last month due to this shocking record and Forest’s perilous position at the bottom of the table.
Quiz: Only a true expert on Nottingham Forest will get these 27 Reds quiz questions correct
A system change from then-caretaker boss Steven Reid proved to be the catalyst for a brighter patch of form for the second-tier club, winning 3-1 at Huddersfield Town under the 40-year-old before starting well under new boss Steve Cooper.
They have gone unbeaten in their last four fixtures heading into this international break, and with this, have managed to drag themselves out of the relegation zone to 17th place.
Many players are feeling the benefit of the 41-year-old’s arrival at the City Ground, but none more so than Ryan Yates with Cooper opting to keep faith in the 23-year-old in the middle of the park and becoming an integral part of his system.
On his new lease of life in the East Midlands, he said after last weekend’s 3-0 win against Birmingham City: “It’s just exciting to be part of this.
“I have learned things in two weeks which have helped develop me into a better player.
“We’re not getting carried away. It could have been 2-2 at half-time. But it wasn’t. We’ve just got to ride the wave and keep improving.
“I am just excited to see how far we can go as a team.
“I’m learning so much at the minute.
“Tactically, I feel like I can develop my game – even if it’s just minor tweaks to get me higher up the pitch and affecting the play more.
“I love days off, but at the minute, for all the lads, I think if we’re off, we’re happy, and if we’re told we are in, we’re happy. That’s what winning football games does.”
Ryan Yates needed this confidence boost after such a poor start to the season, so it’s great to see him thriving under a new system and learning new things already.
Lyle Taylor, aged 31, also made comments regarding how much he’s already learnt under the new Nottingham Forest boss in such a short space of time, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the 41-year-old remain at the City Ground for the long term if he can keep a ‘feel-good’ atmosphere in the camp.
Constantly chopping and changing managers mustn’t have been beneficial for Yates’ development, but with an extended period of time with Cooper, the midfielder could easily develop into an even better player.
At 23, there is still plenty of time for him to do so and considering his potential to stay at the City Ground for the long term, his manager is likely to retain him as a key player in his starting 11, providing he can step up to the plate consistently.
Whether he can do that remains to be seen, but he’s only likely to get better with his ability to now make tactical tweaks to his game, something that will benefit his teammates and help Forest to rise up the Championship table further.