Nottingham Forest’s versatile midfielder Ben Osborn is a player who is attracting interest from the Premier League with Watford and Swansea City being the clubs willing to recruit the midfielder. It is reported that Forest are braced for offers of around £3m for Osborn, and the club could be prepared to cash in on the 22-year-old. The academy graduate signed a new four-year contract in August, which runs until 2020. It puts the Reds in a strong position to negotiate a fee for the player.
Osborn joined Nottingham Forest’s youth system as a 9-year-old. After developing through the age groups, playing at left-back on a frequent basis, he signed a two-year deal with manager Frank Clark taking the initiative to tie down the youngster’s future at the club right after Osborn was voted the club’s Academy Player Of The Year.
Having got a chance to make his debut for the first team on March 2014 due to an injury to Gonzalo Zara, he played the full 90 minutes against Ipswich Town.
In the next two seasons, the midfielder established himself in the first team performing impressively under the then manager Stuart Pearce. In the last two seasons, Osborn made 73 appearances for his club scoring 6 times and assisting another 9.
The 22-year old is hugely versatile and can play in no less than 5 positions across the midfield and the forward line. This season in the Championship, out of his 18 appearances in total, Osborn has played 5 as a central attacking midfielder, 5 as a left forward, 3 as a left attacking midfielder, 2 as a right forward and 2 as a left midfielder. For a player who is only 22 years of age that’s remarkable versatility.
The left-footed player stands out with his great vision and excellent distribution of the ball from the midfield. Osborn’s passing abilities had Forest defender Kevin Wilson mark him to be a player similar to Paul Scholes previously. The Englishman is also a set piece specialist capable of producing quality executions around the opposition penalty area.
Apart from the obvious qualities which makes him stand out on the pitch, Osborn’s greatest strength is perhaps his attitude, with all the previous managers who have worked with him praising him highly for his willingness to learn the different aspects of game in a bid to develop constantly. It has helped him overcome his tactical naivety making him much more effective.
The 22-year old’s gradual improvement was reflected in the words of his previous manager Dougie Freedman who remarked, “Under our fantastic coaching staff, he is starting to learn; to understand. He now realises that there is a time to hold the ball, to hold his position – that is something I can see right in front of my eyes. I see young Ben growing into a tactical player who has understanding. He has previously run around like a headless chicken, using all his energy. Now he is starting to be a very cultured player on the football pitch.”
It remains to be seen if Nottingham Forest lets go of their prized asset in the transfer window. Nevertheless, if he makes a move to the Premier League then Osborn would have the ability to adjust the jump in the level for the versatile midfielder does have what it takes to play in the Premier League.
Arka Tarun Mukherjee
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