Following the collapse against bitter rivals Derby County at the weekend, it highlighted the necessity to reinstate David Vaughan to first team football.
For some bizarre reason, Philippe Montanier does not rate the Welshman highly enough to merit a starting place in the Nottingham Forest midfield. The sheer fragility of our midfield was brutally evident against Derby and raised some serious questions about the mentality of the red’s manager.
Despite Dorus De Vries scooping the player of the year award at the City Ground last season, David Vaughan was undisputedly the best outfield player by some distance. Last season was one of austerity which was difficult for everyone at the club, especially the manager at the time, Dougie Freedman. Given everything that he was dealt last season I think a few people will be wishing they’d not given him such a tough time, especially as we’re out of embargo but still 16th in the Championship table.
I have not been keen on Philippe Montanier since the very beginning and if you archive my previous columns you will see more than enough evidence to support that statement. He is a very nice guy but simply not the right man for the job in my opinion, and when he continues to ignore the talents of the club’s best midfielder it only confirms my scepticism of the man. The majority of Forest fans are aware that the problem stems from the top; Fawaz Al-Hasawi employed the Frenchman as nothing more than a pawn on his platinum chess board. We must also remember that he sold Oliver Burke without consulting his coach either, so I do have some sympathy for Montanier when all’s said and done. Especially when you see the skill set of the three players that were recruited in Burke’s absence.
Regardless of the politics, you can only work with what you’ve got in football and Nottingham Forest still have more than most. Ask Wigan fans if they’d swap their squad for ours and I’m sure they would do so in a heartbeat.
David Vaughan should be the first name on the NFFC team sheet every week in my opinion, and when you see how Pajtim Kasami has been performing of late there is no excuse for leaving the Welshman out any more. Even with a fit Cohen and Lansbury from which to pick, I’d be selecting them to accommodate Vaughan. Why do I rate him so highly? He does the simple things very well and takes the pressure of the defence at every opportunity. He works tirelessly and looks after the ball too; very rarely will you see him lose possession or attempt the wrong kind of pass. I sometimes think that because he’s not an attacking midfielder like Lansbury, his endeavours go somewhat unnoticed.
I found it laughable that people were blaming the defence on Sunday; and what options did they have in front of them exactly? A paper-thin midfield and a forward line that moved like coastal erosion. Only Rotherham have conceded more goals than Forest this season and I would be prepared to bet anybody that it wouldn’t be the case if Vaughan had played regularly this term. Although he’s not renowned for scoring goals, he did pop up with a beauty against Doncaster Rovers earlier this season, in a game which he ran from start to finish.
It must be soul destroying for Vaughan, now 33 years old and recently retired from international duty with Wales. The very fact that he called time on his Welsh obligations tells you that he was fully focussed on Nottingham Forest and our attempts to return to the Premier League. Here is a guy who’s represented his country on forty-two occasions, played numerous times in the Premier League and played for Real Sociedad in Spain. The fact that he can’t hold down a place in a struggling Championship side tells you that something has to give; I’d hate to see him leave the club for the sake of getting a game elsewhere.
I said earlier this week that I’d have settled for nine points from the televised games of late, and Montanier’s job is certainly a little safer for now because of this. If the Frenchman has any aspirations of building on this momentum, he could do a lot worse that picking David Vaughan. Occasionally, a player of Vaughan’s ability can be kept out of the side due to the emergence of a youngster or the brilliance of an opposite number. Neither of which are evident at this moment in time, therefore if David Vaughan isn’t reinstated for Wednesday’s game with Preston, we’re on a hiding to nothing as they say!