Notts County’s Ryan Yates proving that if you’re good enough you’re old enough


Ryan Yates is assessing the question before the smile begins to emerge across his face.

“It’s going perfectly,” says the Nottingham Forest midfielder having been asked how his loan move to Notts County is working out.

With four goals in his last five games, it is indisputable proof that life in the black and white engine room has exceeded all expectation.

But his goal-scoring ability was ironically not one of the reasons why Kevin Nolan was keen to sign him.

The Notts manager wanted him to prowl around midfield like a dog on postman watch and unsettle the opposition with his endless running and bravery.

At 19 he is now become one of the first names on the team-sheet which is a great credit to a teenager who has proven the Sir Matt Busby adage that ‘if you’re good enough, you’re old enough’.

But there is no certainly desire to stand still and admire the work he has carried out so far.

“I set myself quite high standards,” he continues.

“I want to be in the team and I want to get better.

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Ryan Yates celebrates his second goal against Bristol Rovers.

“I’ve scored a few more goals than what I thought I would and my aim, by this time of the year, was to just be in the team.

“I wanted to cement my place and then to keep on progressing.”

Some managers do not like to place their trust in youth purely because they are still developing both physically and mentally.

With jobs and league points on the line, it is much easier to opt for experience over youth.

But Nolan has never been afraid to place his trust in players no matter what their age having burst into the Bolton team himself when he was just a teenager.

Yates has been compared to Nolan in that he possesses that indefatigable spirit that all teams need when backs are against the wall.

Now the goals are coming too, those comparisons are only going to become even greater.

But Yates admits his main role is to keep the pistons ticking in the heart of midfield.

“I think my main role is just to keep things simple,” he says.

“But I am young, I am still raw and I would like to add more goals to my game.

“I’ve scored four in five and if I can progress that and keep chipping in with goals and helping the team get three points then that’s great.

“Scoring has given me more confidence in and around the box so that when it’s all frantic you just need to slow down, but that will come with experience.”

Notts will certainly hope Yates’ form in front of goal will continue this weekend as they look to keep hold of their lead at the top of the League Two table.

They face a tough assignment against a Stevenage team that to coin a phrase from assistant manager Richard Thomas ‘walloped’ them last season.

But Notts travel south in confident mood especially after their heroics in the FA Cup last weekend when they came back from two goals down to see off the League One side 4-2.

A Checkatrade Trophy exit to Lincoln followed on Tuesday night, but Nolan used that game to give the majority of his first-team fringe players some valuable minutes.

Notts have dropped the baton before when the leading the table before this season, and Yates is certainly mindful that teams invariably raise their level of performance when you are there to be shot at.

“We were gutted not to get through in the Checkatrade Trophy on Tuesday night but we had a really good performance against Bristol Rovers in the FA Cup,” he said.

“We have to take the positives from both of those games because it will be another tough one.

“They’re going to be up for it because we’re top of the league – everyone turns it on against the teams at the top.

“It will be high-energy but we need to slow that down, impose ourselves on them and play our game.

“They have a good home record but we just have to focus on ourselves. If we do what we’re good at we’ll come away with three points.”



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