Gary Birtles`s most recent column for the Nottingham Post has called for our fanbase to get behind Ben Brereton over the coming weeks and months.
The European Cup winner believes that even if the 18 year old is not scoring goals, he should be allowed to develop his game as a regular starter up front:
“I think you`ve just got to let Brereton off the leash and give him a bit of freedom, because even if he`s not scoring he will cause problems for defenders by the way he plays. It looks like the manager, Aitor Karanka, has done that.”
Hopefully his goal last time out will give him more confidence going forward. It`s easy to forget that the teenager was only given his debut just over a year ago. Since then, he has been shifted out wide by Warburton, and has only really had an extended run in his favoured position since the beginning of January.
I`m not the only who thinks we desperately need a new number nine in the summer, but young Ben has shown he does have the potential to compete for the position. I think it is especially important that he is given support by those around him.
If the likes of Tomlin, Cash and Lolley can kick on from the QPR display, we should have a trio behind our striker who can chip in with goals and assists, taking the pressure of him while he continues to learn and grow into the role.
The influence of our loan signing from Cardiff could be particularly important. He is excellent at linking up play, and while he is very capable of scoring himself, he is just as adept at bringing others into the game. That connection between the 29 year old and our young forward could be vital for goals in some important fixtures coming up.
Credit where credit`s due to Karanka. He is showing faith in both Ben and Matty where other managers would have gone for a tried and tested approach; especially with our chronic lack of goals this season.
It`s not easy taking over a club mid-way through the season, and it although he has added much needed experience to the squad in January, the Spaniard has shown faith in some younger players too. We will see whether his trust is repaid by the end of the campaign.