Nottingham Forest opinion: Mark Warburton faces a big dilemma over Ben Brereton

IN PICTURE: Ben Brereton.
IN PICTURE: Ben Brereton.

The future of Nottingham Forest’s teenage starlet Ben Brereton lies within the palm of Mark Warburton’s hand.

Since making his Forest debut against Leeds in January of this year, the eighteen year old striker has gone from strength to strength as a professional footballer.

He became an instant hit at the City Ground when he lashed home a last minute winner against Aston Villa, and since that day has been a regular in the NFFC line ups.

Having watched him progress through various sides at the Nigel Doughty academy one thing was for sure; he will score goals at every level.

I watched him score four against Coventry City U18’s when he was just fifteen years of age himself.

He had that knack of being in the right place at the right time....every time.

He was born to be a striker, which is all the more reason for concern when I see him playing as a right winger in the current Forest senior side.

To be honest, I thought it was just a pre season whim by Mark Warburton but it seems as though the youngster is way down the pecking order as the gaffer is concerned.

Of course he’s still got so much to learn as he develops but his education will be scuppered if he continues to be deployed as a winger.

Mark Warburton now faces a massive dilemma; he can either trust the young protégé in his natural position or risk destroying his potential by continuing to play him out wide.

Many argue that Brereton still needs to be developed gradually whilst others would like to see him in action every week.

It’s a tough call to be honest but it may well be decided by the manager’s choice of formation. In my opinion, Forest have the right personnel to go with a 3-5-2 set up this season, something that Warburton flirted with in pre season.

The selling point here is the two up front which would provide a perfect platform for Ben Brereton to make a telling contribution. Whether he’d be the partner of choice for Daryl Murphy is up for debate but he would certainly stand a greater chance in a front two.

If, like against Millwall the Reds manager opts for a lone hit man then the eighteen year old would stand little chance of progression, even as an impact sub. Given the sheer size of Daryl Murphy, it’s best to partner him with somebody with a bit of pace and movement.

I honestly thought that Apostolos Vellios and Murphy would have been the two strikers on show in the opening game, as the head piece of the all new 3-5-2 but I was wrong.

So, what are the options available to Mark Warburton? He can continue to play Brereton out wide and pretend It’s working.

He could be very bold and have him start every week in the two man set up as previously stated; or maybe as the impact sub in this same system?

The lone wolf striker seems to be the order of the day in the championship of late but the youngster hasn’t developed physically enough for such a high pressure role just yet.

One frightening prospect could be the loaning of Ben Brereton to another club which sounds unthinkable but at the same time very plausible if the wrong decision is made by the Forest gaffer.

Even this would prove to problematic if ever it should happen, because he definitely couldn’t drop down to League One, but would make us all look very foolish by turning out against Forest in the same division.

That would only leave a Premier League loan as a viable possibility, one which would have obvious consequences.

You could just envisage Liverpool taking him and capitalising on the opportunity to turn his head whilst in their company. In short; if he’s forced out on loan because we failed to maximise his potential, it would be as bad as the Oliver Burke saga all over again.

It’s still very early days but I will watch with interest as far as our young hit man is concerned, situations like these can make or break a manager. However; given the explosive talent and the tender age of the player in question, the outcome of this conundrum could well be career defining for Ben Brereton.