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  • By Alessandro Schiavone

Chelsea star Enzo's World Cup winning teammate Montiel shines in Forest debut against Burnley

By Alessandro Schiavone at City Ground

Nottingham Forest 1-1 Burnley

Argentina’s World Cup hero Gonzalo Montiel made a promising start to his Premier League life in Nottingham Forest’s 1-1 home draw against Burnley on Monday. 

Unsurprisingly, Chelsea midfielder Enzo Fernandez’s Albiceleste teammate held his own against his direct teenage opponent Luca Koleosho. 

The American had pace and energy to burn but overall Montiel’s South American grinta and defensive acumen stood him in good stead, especially in the opening stages when he gave the youngster a stark reminder of what lay ahead with a superb first block.

It was Montiel’s first Premier League start after making an 18-minute cameo in Forest’s 1-0 win over Chelsea a fortnight ago and the man with the nerves of steel and incredible footballing destiny looked up for it. This is a player who gifted Argentina their first World Cup in 36-and-a-half years by converting the winning spot-kick. So, what could possible faze him?

And even when the 26-year-old was finally caught out by a long ball over the top, he sped back on time and did just enough to prevent Koleosho from cutting goalwards managing to close him down without making contact with the ball. 

Yet while defensively he dealt with everything the game threw at him, coming out on top a host of times in one-v-ones with Koleosho, he has some room left for improvement with his feet. That's clearly an aspect of his game he’s not very refined at.

Some of his long balls forward never reached Awoniyi and as a result led to Forest losing possession. A foul on Brownhill on 34 minutes then saw him booked. Things were never the same again as caution suddenly began to creep into his game.

Burnley kept concentrating all their attacks on the left with Koleosho smelling blood. The American gave the yellow-carded Montiel a big puzzle to solve when he  charged away from him and Worrall before squaring for Foster. The South African centre-forward miscued his effort as the ball rebounded towards the edge of the box. And Amdouni clinically latched on to it before unleashing a superb drive beyond the palms of Arsenal keeper Matt Turner.

The question most Nottingham fans are asking themselves is how the Argentine World Cup star would have defended against Koleosho had he not been on a yellow card. At serious risk of having his name retaken and with his wings clipped, Montiel played the safety card by avoiding any contact. But he was not alone to blame for the goal as Worrall was made to look very old by the Burnley ace's darting run.

On 53 minutes manager steve Cooper recalled him to make way for Arsenal loanee Nuno Tavares who swapped positions with Ola Aina. Late on ex-Cobham teenage star Callum Hudson-Odoi levelled the game with a sumptuous curler in off the far-post as the game.

All things considered, the most pessimistic Forest supporter will claim that he was comfortably beaten by Koleocho's darting run. Yet those who see the glass half full will remember his bright start to the game and will rightly point to the yellow card as the sliding-door moment.


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