Nottingham Forest star who 'tormented' Arsenal leaves club legend with big smile on his face

By Bruna Reis

Nottingham Forest knocked Premier League side Arsenal out of the FA Cup at the City Ground on Sunday night.

Lewis Grabban's late second-half strike separated the sides as the Reds booked their place in the fourth round of the competition, setting up a home tie against holders Leicester City.

Forest legend Garry Birtles and Mikey Clarke watched the action unfold closely and singled out loan star Djed Spence for special praise in this week's Garibaldi Red podcast.

Here is what the pair had to say...

Birtles: "[Djed] Spence was just outstanding. "For 90 minutes I thought he was just terrific, he really was.

"It just shows you how important with those three at the back, it's clearly how Steve [Cooper] wants to play, so if you get all the right players in the right positions, with that particular set up then, I've got a big smile on my face.

"He didn't care who he was up against [Gabriel] Martinelli, whoever it was. He was doing what he does best. I think they might have expected him to say oh right, playing against a Premier League side, he might not be as ambitious, and in the end he just took the game by the scruff of the neck.

"For 90 minutes, he just tormented them. I was delighted."

Clarke: "I thought his performance was outstanding. I can't give anybody less than an eight out of 10 and I think he was pushing a 10 because he was wonderful.

"What kind of surprised me a little bit was that it seemed to me as if Arsenal kind of targeted him because they put Martinelli on that side, and I think maybe after 10 minutes, it was obvious he wasn't going to get the better of Spence, so they took the left-back off, he was really struggling and then I think Spence beat three-men in his own half and they got clinically bought down, just fantastic.

When quizzed about whether it would be realistic to secure Spence on a permanent basis, Clarke added: "At the moment, him staying with us and showcasing his talents probably suits everybody, suits Spence, suits his agent I would have thought, so I think realistically our chances of signing him probably depend on whether we go up or not.

"If we do, we have a great opportunity but I think, looking at him in the game and those who have not seen him before, he was the standout player on that pitch, if you're a Premier League team that needs a right wing-back, you're watching him and you're thinking 'oh wow, a year left of his contract at Middlesbrough at 21'.

"He's going to attract a lot of suitors but he's loving life with us and if we go up, who knows? But I think realistically, depends on us going up."

What did you make of Spence's performance? Have your say in the comments below


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