5 key players who helped Nottingham Forest secure a return to the Premier League

Forest have finally returned to the top flight.

By Press Association Published: 30 May 2022 - 2.25am

Nottingham Forest have returned to the Premier League after a 23-year wait.

Here, the PA news agency looks at five key players who made their comeback possible.

Brice Samba

Nottingham Forest v Sheffield United – Sky Bet Championship – Play Off – Semi Final – Second Leg – City Ground
Brice Samba was the semi-final penalty hero. (Mike Egerton/PA)

Goalkeeper Samba was the hero in their penalty win over Sheffield United in the semi-final, saving three spot-kicks to send Forest to Wembley.

He kept 14 clean sheets in the regular season and has established himself at the City Ground since joining from Caen in 2019.

Brennan Johnson

The 21-year-old has scored 19 times this season, including in both legs against Sheffield United, to be Forest’s biggest attacking threat. He also won the Sky Bet Championship’s young player of the year award.

The forward was the subject of interest from Brentford in January and, if Forest miss out on promotion, it is likely Johnson will leave the City Ground.

Djed Spence

Birmingham City v Nottingham Forest – Sky Bet Championship – St. Andrew’s
Djed Spence has been in fine form since signing on loan from Middlesbrough (Bradley Collyer/PA)

On loan from Middlesbrough, the right-back has been one of the signings of the season – someone Forest may struggle to keep hold of regardless if they are promoted or not.

He has been integral to Steve Cooper’s plans and has flourished on the right, scoring three times – including in the 4-1 FA Cup demolition of Leicester.

James Garner

Another savvy loan signing, this time from Manchester United, the England Under-21 international has excelled in the second half of the campaign.

It took him time to establish himself under Cooper but his set-piece delivery has been invaluable for the side.

Joe Worrall

Nottingham Forest v Sheffield United – Sky Bet Championship – Play Off – Semi Final – Second Leg – City Ground
Joe Worrall has come through the youth ranks at Forest (Mike Egerton/PA)

The defender has been the heart of Forest having come through the ranks, playing – and scoring – in the FA Cup win over Leicester with some cracked ribs.

He has been linked with the Foxes and West Ham given his form this season.

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