Nottingham Forest's best team this decade

The City Ground general view before clash with Hull

Despite relegation near misses, the Reds have had some class players strut their stuff on Trentside this decade.

Robert Earnshaw celebrates scoring the first goal for Nottingham ForestRobert Earnshaw celebrates scoring the first goal for Nottingham Forest

Fans of Nottingham Forest haven't had the best of times this season, with the Reds embroiled in a relegation battle while they battle numerous off field disasters from the hands of owner Fawaz Al Hasawi, but it hasn't been all bad.

It wasn't that long ago since Forest were challenging for a return to the top flight since relegation in 1999, and fans had the pleasure of witnessing some fine players. Here's a best XI of Forest players this decade, in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Goalkeeper - Lee Camp

For a good few months in the 2009/10 season, it's very debatable that Lee Camp was the best English goalkeeper in the country. A brick wall at times, pulling off saves that drew comparisons to former Forest greats such as Peter Shilton and Mark Crossley, Camp was a very self-confident - bordering on arrogant - goalkeeper, who Forest fans adored. The way he strutted around his area was a joy to watch, and his passion for the club - as demonstrated after suffering a head injury against Leeds United, which prompted a bloodied Camp to turn to taunting Leeds fans behind him and point at the Forest badge he'd gone through pain for - was tremendous. Now at recently relegated Rotherham United and having pledged allegiances to Northern Ireland, it's fair to say it didn't work out as planned for Camp, but Forest are yet to see a better stopper since his departure in 2012.

Right back - Chris Gunter

A rampaging full back, Gunter was sublime for Forest and crucial to both of their play-off campaigns in the 2009/10 and 2010/11 seasons. Defensively, Gunter was more than decent as well, and even played an influential role in bringing Aaron Ramsey to the club on a short-term loan basis. After making 155 appearances in all competitions, once it became clear that Forest wouldn't challenge for promotion in the 2011/12 season, it seemed certain a Premier League club would swoop for the Wales international - and that's exactly what happened when he made the switch to Reading in 2012. 

Leeds United's Andrew Keogh (R) in action with Nottingham Forest's Wes MorganLeeds United's Andrew Keogh (R) in action with Nottingham Forest's Wes Morgan

Centre back - Wes Morgan

"You'll never beat Wes Morgan" was the familiar cry from Forest fans, both home and away, as yet another Forest academy graduate stepped up to the plate and made his mark. Morgan was both loyal and reliable for Forest, and played 402 times for the Reds, scoring 14 goals - including one absolute blockbuster of a strike in the 90th minute against Notts County in a League Cup tie. Morgan was sold to Leicester City in 2012 to ease financial problems, and there was not one single Forest fan who begrudged him for doing so, nor was there when he lifted the Premier League trophy for the Foxes in 2016.

Centre back - Jack Hobbs

But for injuries, and Hobbs wouldn't be playing for Forest at present, as he'd be plying his trade in the Premier League. The Championship equivalent of John Terry has been a resounding success for the Reds since he signed for them in 2013, initially on a loan basis, and at times has seemed like an absolute colossus. Hobbs will forever be appreciated by Reds fans after scoring the winning goal in an East Midlands derby match with Derby County, with Hobbs powering a header home to give Forest a 1-0 lead. Forest fans will be hoping he stays injury free, as their defence is so much better with him in the side.

Left back - Ryan Bertrand

A bit of a cheat one considering Bertrand was only on loan, but you could tell from his loan spell that he would go on to be a success in the Premier League. An excellent, classy left back both in defence and attack, brilliant in possession of the ball and strong in the tackle, Bertrand had all the traits required. While lots of people were in shock that he started the 2012 Champions League final for Chelsea, very few Forest fans were.

Nottingham Forest's Andy Reid celebrates at the end of the matchNottingham Forest's Andy Reid celebrates at the end of the match

Central midfield - Andy Reid

When 'The Irish Maradona' returned to The City Ground after six years, he wouldn't play as the flying, skillful winger he once was - instead, Reid played in a more central role, and quickly became Forest's Andrea Pirlo. The former Republic of Ireland international was like a hose pipe in midfield, spraying balls everywhere while looking particularly menacing at free-kicks, as Reid would either go for goal - usually faring pretty well - or whip in an excellent ball with his wand of a left foot. Indisputably the best player Forest have had on their books this millennium, Forest fans were heartbroken after lengthy injury problems meant he had to retire in July 2016.

Central midfield - Henri Lansbury

Frequently misplayed and misused by the many men who went through Forest's managerial revolving door, but still a class act - and on his day, was truly unplayable. It was a shame for all parties concerned that Lansbury was never on top form for consistent periods of time, but Lansbury racked up some impressive figures for a midfielder, and left The City Ground in January 2017 with 33 goals in 150 games. It may take Forest a while to replace someone as combative and useful on the ball as Lansbury is.

Nottingham Forests' Oliver Burke celebrates scoring his teams third goalNottingham Forests' Oliver Burke celebrates scoring his teams third goal

Right midfield - Oliver Burke

It is of no exaggeration that Burke makes this list, despite his tender age of 19 while only making 31 appearances in all competitions, as frankly, he is that good. Arguably the club's best ever youth graduate, Burke's skill, pace, ability to beat a man one-on-one and to find the back of the net is scarily good for a teenager, and seemed set to make his mark on Trentside this season with four goals in seven matches. Al Hasawi then sold Burke behind his manager's back to RB Leipzig, and will never be forgiven for that by a very large portion of Forest fans. 

Attacking midfield - Lewis McGugan

It's no secret that McGugan wasn't exactly Mr Work Rate - you wouldn't see him racking up figures of 15km ran in 90 minutes - but for a player that good, he didn't need to. McGugan would frustrate fans by not appearing to do much, but then in one action, could flip a game on its head. An outstanding range of passing, a truly tremendous shot - especially from distance - and an expert free-kick taker, it's a shame that McGugan's career is in danger of petering out. The 28-year-old scored 44 goals in 229 appearances for Forest, the majority of which had to be seen to be believed, and unfortunately seems like he won't maximise his potential - which would have seen him in the top flight, for sure.

Britt Assombalonga celebrates with Michail Antonio (R) after scoring the fourth goal for Nottingham ForestBritt Assombalonga celebrates with Michail Antonio (R) after scoring the fourth goal for Nottingham Forest

Left midfield - Michail Antonio

When you draw comparisons to Stan Collymore as a player, you know you've done something right - and Antonio got those comparisons a lot at The City Ground. A one-man team at times, Antonio was tremendously strong - and also exceptionally quick - making him a nightmare for defenders, both in the air and on the floor. The 27-year-old could glide past players like they weren't even there, hold off heavy challenges while maintaining possession, before firing in a blockbuster of a strike that - and do it consistently. Antonio scored 19 goals in 54 matches for Forest, many of them special, before leaving for West Ham United in 2015. 

Striker - Robert Earnshaw

After arriving as Forest's marquee signing in the 2008/09 season from fierce rivals Derby County following a failed spell with the Rams, no-one quite knew what to expect from the former Wales international - was he over the hill, or did he have a point to prove?. After 45 goals in 113 appearances, it's fair to say Earnshaw made a lasting impression. The diminutive forward was adored by Forest fans, not least for his ability to consistently find the net against Derby, but for becoming the first reliable forward the club had since David Johnson left in 2006. His front flips after goals became the stuff of legend, and it's only now with Britt Assombalonga that the Reds have a striker in the same league as their Zambian prince. 

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