Nottingham Forest have been linked with Southampton talent Will Smallbone and the youngster can’t stop scoring on the international stage.

Last night he received praise from Republic of Ireland boss Jim Crawford for scoring his third goal in two under-21 internationals.

The young Irish side defeated Montenegro 3-1 to follow up their 3-0 win over Kosovo at the weekend.

Smallbone was on hand to open the scoring with a spectacular left-footed effort from range that typified his brilliance.

Forest linked with Smallbone
(Photo; Eóin Noonan; Sportsfile; Getty Images)

Forest were linked with the Saints gem shortly after winning promotion to the Premier League.

He’s found regular football at Southampton difficult and they face a decision over what to do with the central midfielder.

Smallbone does have a contract at St Mary’s until 2024 and a sale does look unlikely.

Last season he played in just four Premier League fixtures totalling 132 minutes on the pitch.

Now, it seems as though he needs to be playing regular football and if he does that Crawford thinks a senior call-up is on the horizon.

He told the Irish Examiner: “Once Will gets settled in his club and plays consistently, there is every chance he’ll get called up to the senior squad.

“His name had been bandied about with clubs in the Championship.”

Forest want Smallbone and last night he was a star

The publication last night claimed that Smallbone was the ‘standout by a distance’.

His performance was sensational and quite clearly he’s outgrown under-21 football.

One issue for Forest could be that Southampton only look willing to loan out their young talent.

With Forest now a Premier League outfit, they can only have two players on temporary deals from other top-flight clubs.

As a result, the club might decide against using one of those up on a player who is relatively unproven.

Forest linked with Smallbone
(Photo; Seb Daly; Sportsfile; Getty Images)

Smallbone certainly needs to play games. At 22, he desperately needs a regular run of senior outings during 2022/23.

A call up to the Republic of Ireland senior squad looks like a foregone conclusion for Smallbone.

Whether he’s strutting his stuff for Forest next season, however, remains to be seen.

If Steve Cooper can persuade the club to sell the youngster to them, he could prove a very useful addition indeed.

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