What's in a number?
Forest announced their new squad numbers yesterday, and I cannot help but feel that this was an opportunity missed. You see, I am something of a traditionalist when it comes to numbers, having grown up in the era of 1-11 - there was something reassuring about seeing Stuart Pearce marauding down the left wing wearing number 3, or having Garry Parker and Gary Crosby getting chalk on their boots while wearing proper wingers' numbers.
I know that the modern world of football has moved on - hence it is apparently ok for Morgan Schneiderlin to wear number 2, and Hal Robson-Kanu to wear 4, while Diego Costa continues to wear 19 despite 9 being available. However, in my opinion, there is a pleasing symmetry and aesthetic to players wearing the "right" numbers.
I think we would all agree that it would be good for either Jordan Smith or Stephen Henderson to wear number 1. As the senior partner, I would probably give it to Hendo but consider promoting the youngster up from the rather lofty 43.
Armand Traore had every right to wear 6 last season, as Dani Pinillos had already snagged number 3; however, Traore is not Roberto Carlos, and so I would move him to the feted left-back shirt (especially as Danny Fox has been comfortable wearing 13 for many years now, despite not being a substitute keeper).
The rumour mill suggests that we can expect to see Kevin McDonald wearing 7, but if he moves, it would make much more sense for the midfield anchor to wear 6. I assume Andreas Bouchalakis chose to wear 31, as otherwise he could have had a vacant number in the 1-11.
Daryl Murphy taking number 9 is ok - he is a big forward and has worn this at previous clubs. You wonder if Apostolos Vellios might have had his eye on it though. I have never really liked the big Greek wearing 39 - he had 15 in pre-season last year and then went for a lofty number instead.
Barrie McKay wore 10 at Rangers, and it is not completely unknown for wingers to wear 10; it is also entirely possible that McKay might play as an attacking midfielder. However, perhaps the Scotsman could have had 7, allowing auxiliary forward Zach Clough to take 10.
Matty Cash and Ben Brereton have had numerical promotions, but Joe Worrall joins Jordan Smith in keeping an astronomical number. Jim Hearson over at Squad Numbers did opine that maybe Worrall could take number 6, but I am not a fan of having too many defenders in the 1-11.
Perhaps it could look something like this - based upon the guidance from the footballing authorities that there should not be gaps in squad lists and that players should not choose an excessively high number:
1. Henderson, 2. Lichaj, 3. Traore, 4. Mancienne, 5. Mills, 6. McDonald/Bouchalakis, 7. McKay, 8. Cohen, 9. Murphy, 10. Clough, 11. Osborn, 12. Smith, 13. Fox, 14. Cash, 15. Vellios, 16. Worrall, 17. Brereton, 18. Carayol, 19. Ward, 20. Cummings, 21. Lam, 22. Walker, 23. Bouchalakis (if not 6), 24. Vaughan, 25. Hobbs, 26. Evtimov, 27. Darikwa.
(Yes, I probably do have better things to worry about...)