Nottingham Forest starlet Brennan Johnson has been recognised for his impressive recent performances by winning the EFL’s Young Player of the Month award for September.
The highly-rated 20-year-old was heavily involved in securing Forest’s first three points of the season, grabbing an assist in their 2-0 away win at Huddersfield Town, while he capped off the month by inspiring a turnaround at Barnsley with a devastating second-half display, setting up the equaliser before scoring to put his side in front.
“It’s a nice award to get,” he said. “I know the names that have won it in the past and there has been some really good players, so to be part of that is something I’m really proud of.
“It’s been a really good month for me and especially the team, getting some wins. The Barnsley game was a tough one in the first half, but they went with a higher line and I was able to do what I do best, which is run in behind.
“I used to be a midfield player but now I’m affecting the game higher up. Whether it’s out wide, as a 10 or even as a striker in a two upfront, I’m quite flexible and I’ll play wherever I’m needed.
“I’ve got a couple of goals and a few assists so far, so if I can keep them coming, help the boys and play in as many games as I can, that’s the aim.”
The exciting Wales international, capped five times at senior level, came into this season with just 110 minutes of Sky Bet Championship action under his belt.
However, following a hugely successful loan spell at Lincoln City during the 2020/21 campaign, which saw him score 13 goals in their run to the Sky Bet League One Play-Off Final, Johnson has returned to the City Ground with renewed vigour, starting all but one of their league games so far this term.
“I’ve been here since the age of eight, so playing for Forest has always been my dream and it’s been nice to play for them,” the talented forward continued. “At the start of the season, I wasn’t too sure how much I would be involved.
“I look back to 18 months ago, I was training but not getting too many games. Now, I’d like to think I’m quite a big player in this team. I’ve made a massive step up and I’m really pleased with how it’s gone.
“Before I went on loan, I think I was struggling for a bit of confidence and wasn’t too sure about how I was playing. Going out and playing loads of games made me realise that I can do it, especially at that level and it’s given me the confidence to do it at the Championship level as well. It was really good for my development.”
The appointment of new manager Steve Cooper has delivered an upturn in results for the Club and allowed Johnson’s dynamism to come to the fore, setting up the team with a more attack-minded approach.
“I’ve really enjoyed playing under the manager,” Johnson added. “I love being an attacking threat, scoring goals and getting assists. I’ve been able to express myself a lot more and I’ve been really enjoying my football.
“The manager’s come in with his own style of play and I think the boys are really getting to grips with it now. I think it’s only going to get better, so we’re really excited. We have a lot of quality upfront and in that final third, he just gives us total freedom.”
Forest host Blackpool this afternoon in a positive frame of mind having taken 10 points from a possible 12, although they are still searching for their first home victory of the campaign.
“All the boys are aware that our home form hasn’t been good enough this season,” Johnson admitted. “We’ve picked up a few good results, but we don’t want to take any backward steps. Hopefully we can build on the away performances.
“Once we become assured in how we want to play and what we want to do, I think anything is possible. We’ve got a really strong squad here and I think the sky’s the limit for us.”