By Gareth James
Cardiff City hero Rubin Colwill has already come from nowhere this season, according to manager Mick McCarthy – but still has far to travel.
Colwill came off the bench to score twice as the Bluebirds came from behind to win 2-1 at Nottingham Forest on Sunday, a result that lifted them to eighth in the Championship table.
It was further evidence of the teenager’s meteoric rise in 2021, although McCarthy admitted it looked less promising for the 19-year-old when the Yorkshireman first arrived to take chare at the start of the year.
“If you take it back before January, he was as far away from the first team as he was ever going to be,” said McCarthy.
“That goal, the second one, had TC, my assistant Terry Connor, written all over it. Took it around, inside, hit it on the floor, don’t be hitting it over the bar.
“[Colwill] takes credit for getting it, but TC for coaching him and insisting on how he does it. Brilliant.”
“TC and I both saw him in that first training session and he stood out. Him and Isaak Davies trained with us and looked really good.
“He comes from a lovely family, he has his feet on the ground and he wants to do well.”
Colwill scored his first goal within a minute of coming off the bench, netting from close range in the 58th minute. His second, a precise finish, came 15 minutes later.
The defeat added to bottom-placed club Forest’s misery, with two goals from the livewire substitute helping McCarthy’s side bounce back to win after Lewis Grabban had given Forest a half-time lead.
After being overlooked for the first half of last season under former manager Neil Harris, Colwill was given half a dozen opportunities by McCarthy in the second half of last season.
The midfielder made enough of an impression to become a shock inclusion in the Wales squad that competed in the delayed Euro 2020 finals this summer under caretaker manager Rob Page.
That prompted Cardiff to tie Colwill down on a new contract and McCarthy added: “I am so pleased that he has signed a new contract because, if he hadn’t, people would be all over him like a rash, watching him get a cap with Wales and then do that today.
“His second goal was in a different class. Kieffer (Moore) just played it around the corner to him and he produced a great finish. Management can sometimes look easy, can’t it?
“What pleased me most was that we took a short throw-in; we tried something different.
Some strike this from Rubin Colwill.
What a way to get his 2nd of the day and secure the win.pic.twitter.com/QeJmyKwwNp
— Cymru Watch 🏴 (@CymruWatch) September 12, 2021
“I told the players that they did not have to launch the ball into the box every single time. Be smart; be clever – do something different.
“We took a short throw, Will (Vaulks) put a great ball into the box and we had bodies in there to attack it.
“It is a great three points and a great win. We started well but then they got into it and were full of confidence after the goal.”
Chris Hughton insists he can still turn things around at Forest, despite a nightmare start to the season that has seen them collect only one point from six Sky Bet Championship games.
It is Forest’s worst start to a season in 108 years but under-fire Hughton remained defiant, saying: “I have to believe I can do that (turn things around). I have to.
“I have a group of players, I have a responsibility and we have to get results.
“However it happens, we have to find a way to win matches. That means players stepping up to the bar; that means players gelling together and all of us doing enough to get results.
“In the first half we scored a really good goal and, without playing really well, we were still the better side. Cardiff were always going to react in the second half. They are one of the biggest Championship sides I have seen.
“They play in a certain way and that has been very beneficial for them. You have to be able to cope with it. It is a tough task. But there was a period of 15 minutes where they cranked it up and were very, very direct.
“There were moments during that when we just did not cope with it.”