Joao Carvalho came off the bench and scored for Nottingham Forest against Hull City on Saturday afternoon, days after playing for the u23s in front of Martin O’Neill. The 22-year-old may have given the Reds manager a selection headache ahead of Wednesday’s meeting with Aston Villa too.
Carvalho has been short of form and playing time since O’Neill replaced Aitor Karanka, amassing only 97 minutes of Championship football since New Year’s Day. He made a telling impact against Hull to prove his worth to his manager. The midfielder had been benched since the turn of the year and was an unused substitute on six occasions.
After being brought on in the 67th minute, the Portuguese u21 international made 11 touches, nine passes with 89% accuracy and had one shot that he scored from. Saturday’s goal was his first since November 2018 and his substitute appearance was only his fourth league outing in more than two months.
Carvalho has scored and created 10 goals in 29 Championship games since joining Forest from Benfica last summer. He came to the City Ground with a lot of expectation due his £13m price tag, but there had been fears he was wilting under the pressure. He now stands a chance of starting against Villa if O’Neill trusts him.