Nottingham Forest boss Dougie Freedman deserves credit for securing a loan deal for Chuba Akpom and it will be interesting to see how the arrival of the Arsenal forward affects one of the club’s best youngsters; Tyler Walker.
Akpom is on loan until the end of the season to give the side an injection of pace and firepower as they cling onto the hope of a top six place.
The move suggests that Freedman doesn’t feel Walker is ready to handle everything that comes along with performing and playing regularly in the attack of one of the country’s biggest clubs.
It could be a confidence issue and a common sense move from Freedman, designed to protect Walker’s confidence over the rest of this season.
Had he thrown the youngster into the team to start regularly, the criticism and negativity aimed at him could have been immense over the rest of the season, especially with Forest clinging onto the hope of a place in the top six.
Freedman can now play Walker as cover, using him as an impact player if he feels he needs to in big games, where the impact on him will be reduced if he doesn’t perform to his full potential.
He can also challenge the player to try and give him a problem in away from first team games, increasing the intensity in training and challenging him to show why he’s got more talent than the Arsenal youngster who has just come in.
It will then be a case of the 18-year-old trying to make even more of an impression during the pre-season period looking ahead to next season, regardless of the level that Freedman’s team are going to be playing at.
Freedman is not afraid to use younger players in his first team, he’s just improving the chances of the side even further in terms of breaking that top six.