Laryea urged to stay "ready" for action after long-awaited Nottingham Forest debut
After making his long-awaited Nottingham Forest debut this week, Richie Laryea could stand to play a bigger role for the Championship club going forward, as they continue their push toward promotion to the English Premier League.
Having moved to Forest on a permanent transfer back in January from Toronto FC, it took until Laryea’s 15th potential game with the club for him to finally see the pitch, as he played 11 minutes for Forest in a 4-0 win over West Bromwich Albion on Monday.
There, he showed good composure in his debut, completing 8/8 passes alongside 10 touches in his short time on the field; not looking at all like someone who had been bouncing in and out of the matchday squad for the past few months.
As a result, he earned praise from Forest head coach Steve Cooper this week, who urged Laryea to stay 'ready' for any more potential action in the club’s last five league games (and up to three potential playoff games) remaining.
“He’s part of what we’re doing here,” Cooper told the Nottingham Post on Wednesday, ”He’s part of the squad. If he’s called upon, I’m sure he’ll be doing everything he can to make sure he’s as ready as he can be.”
With regular Forest wing back Max Lowe still out for a while with a groin injury, Laryea has been pushed up the pecking order in the squad, giving him a better shot at action.
Despite that, though, it's the emergence of star right-wing back Djed Spence that's kept Laryea out of the starting lineup.
But, Spence is at risk of missing a potential playoff game if they end up playing Middlesbrough (where Spence is on loan from, and therefore, cannot play against) so Laryea could see significant minutes in an important match for the club.
According to Cooper, he has no doubts over Laryea's ability to quickly adapt, noting that the Canadian has been nothing but a top professional since joining Forest.
“He’s a really, really good guy. Calm, relaxed, has bought into what we are doing. His family are over here. He’s completely engaged,” Cooper said. “And he’s taken not playing as much as he would have liked - none of them take it well - but he’s taken it professionally.”
“I’ve explained to him, the situation, and he accepts it. Like he did on Monday night, you’ve just got to stay ready.”
So having now got a taste of life at Forest, Laryea will look to take a bigger bite next time around, building off of his solid debut.
“I think he enjoyed it; hopefully he did,” Cooper added. “He got a round of applause after the game.
“It was good to see him in the kit, wasn’t it? There’s something about that red kit and being at the City Ground.”
Forest currently sits 5th in the Championship with 70 points, seven points behind an automatic promotion spot, but five points clear in a playoff spot (and with two games in hand on most around them).
The top two teams in the Championship get automatically promoted to the Premier League, and then the next four teams contest a playoff to earn the league’s third spot.