Ryan Yates admits he is ’embarrassed’ only to have scored two goals for Nottingham Forest in the 2020/21 campaign.
It was a frustrating campaign for Forest, who finished 17th in the Championship under Chris Hughton after only just missing out on a play-off finish last season.
The Reds were one of the division’s lowest scorers, scoring 37 goals in 46 matches and Lewis Grabban, their top scorer, netting only six goals.
Yates was a regular starter under Hughton, making 34 league appearances this season with 31 of those coming as starts.
The 23-year-old, who scored three goals in 27 games last season, only managed to score two goals in 34 games this time around.
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The midfielder knows that tally could have been much higher, though, having missed a series of headed opportunities from inside the area.
Speaking to The Athletic, Yates spoke honestly about his lack of goals, saying how he is ’embarrassed’ only to have scored two goals this season.
He said: “I went through a patch where I was going into games where I was always thinking, ‘I need to score today’.
“I think that took some of my focus away when it came to the other things I needed to be doing as a midfielder. I want to be the best I can be, I want to be better than my opponent. I want to be the best midfielder on the pitch, if I can be, in every single game.
“Maybe I just need to not think about it. But I also need to work on it. And I am always working on it. I actually feel a bit embarrassed that I have only got two goals this season.
“I feel it is one of my roles in the team, particularly under a manager who does give me the freedom to get into the box. I am getting the chances, I just need to put them away.”
If you want to be pushing for promotion in the Championship, you can’t just rely on one striker to score 20 or 25 goals.
You need goals from out wide and from midfield, and in Yates, they could have had a 7/8 goal midfielder this season had he been more composed in front of goal.
This is something that he needs to work on in the summer, as his late runs into the box can be really threatening. He needs to make the most of that going forward, and he could be such a key player for Forest if he does so.