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Nottingham Forest midfielder Lewis O’Brien has opened up on his recent transfer saga, describing it as the “toughest” moment of his football career.
O’Brien had been stuck in footballing limbo after a prospective loan move to Blackburn Rovers fell through on Deadline Day at the end of January. The transfer’s last-minute collapse meant that O’Brien was left unregistered and unable to compete for Forest in the Premier League.
Championship outfit Rovers appealed to an independent arbitrator shortly after in an attempt to resurrect the move, however, their push was unsuccessful, leaving O’Brien unable to play football.
However, an opportunity arose in the MLS earlier this month and O’Brien jumped at the chance to try his hand at life in the US leagues with D.C. United in Washington.
O’Brien “loving it” in the MLS
Speaking about the breakdown of his switch to Blackburn Rovers, O’Brien was typically candid, saying: “I probably wasn’t the nicest person to be around for those four weeks after the Blackburn saga.
“It’s definitely been the toughest part of my career so far. My fiancée Robyn dealt with the worst of it, I would go to training, do some running on my own, come home and probably wouldn’t even speak.
“I had two options – I could have just plodded along while waiting for the summer or I could have gone abroad.”
“I’ve been here for just over a week, but felt at home straight away,” he added.
“I’m here at DC United and absolutely loving it. The standard of the MLS is far higher than people think.”
Signed on the dotted line ✍️🏴#DCU || #VamosUnited pic.twitter.com/FJD5d6EFOT
— D.C. United (@dcunited) March 20, 2023
O’Brien links up with Rooney
Lewis O’Brien jetted over to the United States earlier this month to sign a short-term loan deal with D.C United, who are currently managed by former England and Manchester United superstar, Wayne Rooney.
United have pocketed just four points in Rooney’s first five games in charge stateside, though performances and results are expected to pick up soon.
“Lewis has been one of the best players in the Championship over the last few seasons,” Rooney said in a press release shortly after the deal was completed.
“He reads the game well and creates goal-scoring opportunities. Bringing him in on loan from Nottingham Forest was a great bit of business for us and he will be a brilliant addition to our midfield.”
The 24-year-old started six times in the Premier League between August and December and made further seven appearances for Forest off the bench in their first campaign back in the big time.
O’Brien will hope to earn a starting spot in midfield alongside former Leeds man Mateusz Klich and ex-Man Utd prodigy Ravel Morrison, while there are more familiar faces elsewhere in the D.C roster.
At the back, Derrick Williams, formerly of Blackburn, Bristol City and Aston Villa, is a regular for Rooney, while further forward, burly Belgian forward Christian Benteke is currently plying his trade.
Benteke has already scored three times this season in the MLS and the 32-year-old is certain to be a key performer for D.C. United this term.