'Incredibly tough' Morgan Gibbs-White situation, Nottingham Forest's 'gem' and the 'real low'

Nottingham Forest players and staff celebrate securing survival after beating Burnley
Nottingham Forest players and staff celebrate securing survival after beating Burnley -Credit:Getty

In the end it was simply a case of “job done” for Nottingham Forest this season as they retained their Premier League status.

It was hardly a vintage campaign for the Reds. In fact, it was something of a slog and one many fans were pleased to see the back of.

The past nine months have been a rollercoaster, to say the least. From a change of manager to a points deduction, refereeing controversies and everything else in between.

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Nevertheless, last Sunday’s 2-1 win over Burnley mathematically secured safety as Nuno Espirito Santo’s side signed off with a second successive away victory. With the curtain having come down on 2023/24, below we give our season ratings for the players to have pulled on the Garibaldi. Only those who were part of Nuno Espirito Santo’s squad at the end of the campaign have been included.

Matt Turner: A real team player and does still have potential as a goalkeeper, but needs to improve with the ball at his feet. The American’s shot-stopping is good and he made some strong saves, but many will mostly remember the costly errors. A change between the posts proved to be the right decision. Rating: 6/10

Odysseas Vlachodimos: Didn’t live up to his excellent pedigree when he finally got his chance. For a player with as impressive a CV as the Greek has, Forest expected better. Was in goal for the real low point of the season - that 5-0 thumping at Fulham. Rating: 5/10

Matz Sels: It proved to be a good call bringing the Belgian in during the January transfer window. He made a difference. The Reds looked more assured at the back with him behind them, even though they still gave away some sloppy goals. Rating: 7.5/10

Moussa Niakhate: In and out of the team for much of the season, but was still an important part of the group even when he wasn’t playing. Found it tough to get in the XI when Nuno fielded a four-man defence - after the experiment of playing him at left-back didn’t work - but the occasional switch to three at the back provided the Senegal international with opportunities. Rating: 6.5/10

Willy Boly: Getting the centre-back tied down to a new deal early on in the off-season is a superb bit of business by the club. He is such a key figure. Had he been able to feature in more of the games, survival might well have been secured sooner. Rating: 8/10

Felipe: Didn’t have the same impact this term as he did last season. His contribution to the 2022/23 survival mission will not be forgotten, though. Seems wrong that he wasn’t able to wheel out the Felipe flip for a goal that actually counted. Rating: 6/10

Murillo: Undoubtedly the breakout star of the season, and a deserving winner of the club’s player of the season crown. He is a gem; still raw but with so much potential. A future star who will score an incredible goal one of these days - hopefully in a Forest shirt. Rating: 8.5/10

Andrew Omobamidele: One for the future. Had to be patient but gave a very good account of himself once the chance came and was a little unfortunate to eventually lose his place. Clearly has ability, though. Rating: 7.5/10

Neco Williams: A huge shame the Welshman’s campaign ended slightly early due to injury, particularly as he was in a terrific run of form. Arguably Forest’s most improved player this season as he made the right-back spot his own. Rating: 8.5/10

Harry Toffolo: Usually pretty reliable when called upon. Picked himself up after a tough cameo against Chelsea to end the campaign well at Turf Moor. A very popular member of the squad, too. Rating: 7/10

Ola Aina: Has to go down as one of the Reds’ best bits of transfer business since promotion with the fact he arrived as a free agent and a contract extension has now been activated. The full-back speeding past Kyle Walker in both games against Manchester City will live long in the memory. Rating: 8/10

Gonzalo Montiel: A World Cup winner he may be, but the Argentine didn’t quite live up to that billing during his loan spell. Performances were mixed, so it is no surprise the Reds have opted against making his move permanent. Rating: 5/10

Nuno Tavares: Took him a while to get going, then injury stopped him in his tracks just when he was starting to show what he is capable of. Had he stayed fit, the Arsenal loanee might have been able to make a case for Forest keeping him on. Rating: 6/10

Ryan Yates: His first ever Premier League goal has to go down as one of the moments of the season as the midfielder ended the campaign in good form. It was a crucial strike, too - definitely worth the wait. Remains an integral part of the dressing room. Rating: 7/10

Cheikhou Kouyate: Generally had to settle for a substitutes’ role but was a solid option to have in the squad. Nuno made a point of emphasising how the Senegal international was a good character to have around, even when he wasn’t playing regularly. Rating: 6/10

Danilo: Something of a mixed season for the Brazilian. Was in and out of the team for a spell and his form was up and down, but he hit his stride towards the end - just as he did 12 months ago. Rating: 7/10

Ibrahim Sangare: First year in the Premier League didn’t pan out as hoped. Perhaps the transfer fee and the tag of club record signing didn’t help. Showed a few glimpses of what he can do, but unlocking his quality has to be the aim for next term. Rating: 6/10

Nicolas Dominguez: Overall, an encouraging first season on the banks of the Trent. Some really good moments, particularly early on when he adapted seamlessly to English football. Made a few notable errors, but was still unfortunate not to feature more towards the end - although an injury problem may have played a part in that. Rating: 7/10

Morgan Gibbs-White: Forest’s go-to guy. That first half against Fulham was a performance for the ages and will be talked about for years to come. If financial rules mean the club may reluctantly have to consider letting him go, he would be an incredibly tough man to replace. Rating: 8.5/10

Gio Reyna: He may well have talent, but the Reds never really got to see it - other than on the odd occasion. Was always going to be tough to force his way into the XI, given Gibbs-White was first-choice for his favoured No.10 spot. Rating: 6/10

Callum Hudson-Odoi: It is nigh-on impossible to discuss the former Chelsea winger without mentioning his fee. Has it ever been mentioned that Forest paid the bargain price of just £3 million for him?! The exciting part is he can get even better. Rating: 8/10

Anthony Elanga: A dip in form towards the end of the campaign shouldn’t overshadow a fine first season in the Garibaldi for the ex-Manchester United man. Has the potential to be a key player in the years to come. Rating: 7.5/10

Divock Origi: Will go down as one of those loans that just didn’t work out. Was handed a fair few chances by Nuno but never really took them and eventually dropped out of the team. A shame, as on paper he had the potential to make a difference. Rating: 5/10

Taiwo Awoniyi: To start with, the front man picked up from where he had left off last term. Injury problems then had a massive impact. Never quite regained full sharpness after returning from groin surgery, then missed another chunk of the season towards the end. Still finished with six goals, though. Rating: 6.5/10

Chris Wood: It doesn’t bear thinking about where the Reds would have finished without his goals. Stepped up in Awoniyi’s absence and although his mini drought contained a few glaring misses, he signed off with a brace against his former club. Rating: 7.5/10

Rodrigo Ribeiro: Is he one of Portugal’s brightest young prospects? We will never know - at least not until he turns up somewhere else and takes the place by storm. Made just five substitute appearances during his loan spell. Rating: 6/10

How would you rate the Reds? Have your say in the comments below