After proving himself as one of the best players in the Championship last season, can Nottingham Forest’s Andy Reid continue his exceptional form? Kyle Cotter assesses the likelihood
On the back of such an impressive season for Nottingham Forest’s vice-captain, Andy Reid will look to continue his form into next season. But is there anything that may hold the Player of the Season back in his performance? And what could spur him on to reproduce the exceptional form he achieved last season?
We saw the Irishman rack up 10 goals and 15 assists in 36 starts from midfield — and an impressive pass accuracy of 80% in the Championship — which led to Reid being chosen for the division’s team of the year, a deserving award after such a magnificent season for the 31-year-old.
However, the Dublin-born player will turn 32 next month and with the amount of games he will be expected to play in the Championship, along with the League Cup, FA Cup and international duties, it may prove a struggle to keep up with some of the lads with a bit more spring in their step. He only made 32 league appearances from a possible 46 last season after injury struck in February, and with the games coming thick and fast at this level you could question whether a player at his age would be able to stick out a full season at the top end of the Championship.
Reid will undoubtedly remain a key player under new manager Stuart Pearce but, having produced some of the best football in his career under Billy Davies, the former Sunderland midfielder’s form and fitness will be essential to keeping him in favour. Without knowing Psycho’s preferred formation and tactics, we can only hope the number 11 is an integral player.
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Although Reid only has 29 caps to his name for the ‘boys in green’ he has been part of the Irish set-up since 2003 when he made his debut in a friendly match against Canada in Dublin. However, a falling out with Giovanni Trapattoni in 2008 curtailed his international career and it’s only since last October he’s made it back in the squad.
If he is to add to these caps then it could have an effect on his club career. Ireland played 12 games between 14 August 2013 and 10 June 2014 — just over a quarter of the games played in the Championship season, excluding potential play-off matches. If the FAI were to schedule this many games again for next year, and have Reid play in them, it may well be detrimental to his club form and game time.
More importantly, on the back of an utterly amazing season, the question is: can he keep up the incredible standards he has set? He reached his highest goals scored in a season since he was previously at Forest back in 2003-04 and also created a further 88 chances for his teammates. The fans at the City Ground have almost come to rely on the one-time Spurs player to produce something exceptional and, it’s fair to say, he carried the team at times last season.
Of course his drive to take the Reds back to the Premier League will spur him on. Having spent two rather unsuccessful years at Tottenham Hotspur, and then four at Sunderland with some reasonable reward, the Dubliner may just want to push on for the last time and prove his worth in the big time. Reid has always had his doubters and a year in the top flight with the big dogs of English football could verify he can mix it with the best.
Having proved how good he can be, and in the shape of his life, there’s no reason why Reidy couldn’t just do it all over again next season. But better this time. The league hasn’t got any more difficult this year and if the squad around him improve then the player himself could very easily excel. I, for one, can’t wait.