Mascarell and Riera can add an exciting twist to the Derby County and Nottingham Forest 'Clasico'

Derby County and Nottingham Forest's young Spanish midfielders could add finesse to a battle of rivals when the two teams face later this season.

The spoils were shared when Derby took on Nottingham Forest this season, which for Stuart Pearce's side was a major improvement on the 5-0 defeat they suffered last season.

Always a full-blooded contest, two players in the squads of each side have the ability to offer something different next time around, with the East Midlands rivals likely to get their own taste of El Clasico.

Derby have midfielder Omar Mascarell earning his way into the first team, who is on loan from reigning Champions League winners Real Madrid.

Forest on the other hand pulled off a coup in the summer by signing Roger Riera from Barcelona's under-19 side, and the prospect of them going head to head is an intriguing one, with each also by their past connections representing the two bitter Spanish rivals.

Mascarell has been impressive for Derby since being given a chance by Steve McClaren, the 21-year-old providing an assist in the 5-0 victory over Wolves.

Confident on the ball, in an earlier game against Blackpool he recorded 115 touches, more than any other player on the pitch.

Riera is two-years younger at 19, and is experiencing a slower progression to the first team. Under-21 coach Jimmy Gilligan told the Nottingham Post he is pleased so far with his development, after he stood out in a 3-3 draw with Leeds earlier in the week.

"He's got the ability to do it. As long as he wants to learn he's got a chance. Roger will do everything he can and we'll do everything we can to help him at this football club. Hopefully he can progress and we might see an ex-Barcelona player in Nottingham Forest's first team."

Riera is of course still developing, and there is plenty of time for him to continue to work his way towards a chance in the Championship between now and when the two sides face off next, at the City Ground on January 17. As a former Barcelona under-19 captain, he clearly has the talent to do so.

If so it would just provide another intriguing backstory amid the two rivals, battling each other for points and positions, as both attempt to win promotion to the Premier League. 

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