Joao Carvalho's Nottingham Forest exit could increase the anti-O'Neill feeling

Martin O'Neill of Nottingham Forest looks on prior to the Sky Bet Championship match between Nottingham Forest and  Brentford at City Ground on February 09, 2019 in Nottingham, England.

Championship outfit Nottingham Forest paid a record £13million to sign Joao Carvalho from Benfica last summer.

Martin O'Neill of Nottingham Forest looks on prior to the Sky Bet Championship match between Nottingham Forest and  Brentford at City Ground on February 09, 2019 in Nottingham, England.

Martin O’Neill might have been a legend as a player at Nottingham Forest, forming a key part of the side who won successive European Cups under Brian Clough. But that does not mean he is a popular figure in the dugout.

Forest fans were left divided when the 66-year-old returned to the City Ground in January to replace Aitor Karanka and O’Neill’s reputation has taken a battering among some sections of the support ever since.

Nottingham Forest have won just one of their last five Championship games, including successive defeats to Rotherham United and Sheffield Wednesday, while a rather agricultural style of play has hardly earned O’Neill many admirers.

 

In particular, his ongoing omission of Joao Carvalho has become a stick with which to beat the former Sunderland and Celtic boss.

The £13 million record signing (BBC) is the most naturally gifted footballer in O’Neill’s squad but the fact that he has started just one Championship game in the last three months speaks volumes.

Joao Carvalho of Nottingham Forest during the Carabao Cup Second Round match between Nottingham Forest and Newcastle United at City Ground on August 29, 2018 in Nottingham, England.

O’Neill has often prioritised pragmatism and energy rather than unpredictability and inspiration, leaving Carvalho stuck on the bench, much to the chagrin of many supporters.

Now, SDNA reports that Carvalho could walk away in the summer, with Olympiakos keen to reunite the former Benfica starlet with another former Forest youngster, Gil Dias.

If Carvalho goes, this will do little for O’Neill’s reputation.

Joao Carvalho of Notts Forest is mobbed by team mates after scoring to make it 2-0 during the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest at Villa Park on November...

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