Former Yeovil Town midfielder Chris Cohen has said that he feels like he is close to being vindicated in his decision to drop down two divisions to rebuild his footballing career. Back in November 2005, an 18 year old Cohen went out on loan to Yeovil Town from Premier League side West Ham United and proved such a success that in the following summer he made his move to Huish Park permanent, becoming an integral part of the Glovers side that reached Wembley Stadium during the 2006-07 season, as part of the League One play-offs.
Cohen left Yeovil Town that summer to join Nottingham Forest, who the Glovers had knocked out of the play-offs just months earlier, and there began his move back up the league ladder. On Saturday, Cohen scored the winning goal in Forest's 1-0 win over Middlesbrough that put Forest into an automatic promotion position in the Championship less than two years after he picked up a promotion winners medal with Forest, following that up with Nottingham Forest's Player Of The Season award for the 2008-09 season.
Cohen turns 23 years old early next month and with Forest as the form team in the Championship, he is hopeful of turning his career full circle and getting a chance to set himself up against West Ham United, back in the Premier League next season. Speaking to the Nottingham Evening Post, the midfielder said that it has been a rollercoaster of a career, and admitted that things could have been very different if he had the luck that former team-mate Arron Davies had at Forest:
"I do feel like my career is close to going full circle, definitely. When you leave somewhere like West Ham to join a small club like Yeovil, you are not sure what will happen. You see so many people fall out of the game as they drop lower and lower in the leagues and I did not know what was going to happen. I believed that I had the ability. But that is not always everything. Look at a player like Arron Davies, who has great quality. He has had bad luck with injuries and not had as many opportunities as he would have liked. And now he is fighting for his career at Yeovil again. He is doing well there, but it shows you how quickly things can change. When you look at how we play as a team at Forest, I think you can see how desperate we all are to prolong our careers playing at as high a level as we can."
Cohen admits that eventually joining Forest was a slightly surreal experience, having witnessed the reaction of the Forest fans to Yeovil Town's sensational 5-2 win at the City Ground, having helped dump his future employers out of the League One play-offs:
"There has been a lot of hurt at this club and I experienced things from both sides, in a sense. I was part of the Yeovil side that won here in the play-off semi-final and you could see the frustration on the fans' faces as I was walking off the pitch that day. I joined over the summer after that and, at the start of the next season, we were not playing the best football and you could see how frustrated the fans were getting then as well. But we have escaped League One and we feel as though we are on an upward climb now, rather than on a downward cycle."
Cohen told the paper that he had no regrets about his time at Huish Park, and believed it helped build him up and turn himself into an experienced player, and that it allowed him to get into the rhythm of playing football every week for a professional club:
"I had a fantastic time at Yeovil, it was as enjoyable for me as this situation at Forest is now. It is a brilliant little club and I just wanted to play football. I do love playing football. I love training and I love matches. I knew by going down to Yeovil that I was going to play every week; that I would have the chance to grow as a player, to learn all the little tricks. Without that experience, I would not be able to play at the level I am at now, so I have a lot of thanks to Yeovil for that."
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