Nottingham Forest legend Garry Birtles has said that Taiwo Awoniyi should be the first name on the Nottingham Forest team sheet.

The ex-Reds striker watched on at the City Ground on Saturday as Forest stunned Liverpool.

Awoniyi scored the game’s only goal 10 minutes after half-time, with the Reds standing firm against the former champions.

It was a vastly improved performance from Steve Cooper’s team.

Birtles Awoniyi
(Photo; James Williamson; AMA; Getty Images)

After signing 22 new players in the summer, it was always going to be a tricky start to life back in the Premier League.

On Saturday, Forest looked like a team for the first time and showcased some genuine cohesion.

Next up for the Reds is a daunting trip to Arsenal and Birtles knows who he thinks should be the first man on the team sheet.

The European Cup-winning former Reds told Nottinghamshire Live: “It just shows what can happen with a striker upfront.

“What a nuisance he was by the way.

“He makes it difficult for defenders. He reminds me of Keinan Davis last season making life difficult for Van Dijk.

“He’s rough around the edges but with strikers, it’s a sharpness thing.

“Awoniyi is an awkward customer. If you ask Van Dijk if he enjoyed Saturday, he’d say no. I was really impressed.

“He needs a chance to prove he can make a difference. Awoniyi, right now, he’d be my first name on the team sheet.”

Birtles says Awoniyi should be the first name on the team sheet and he’s not wrong

The Forest legend is right to make this claim.

Awoniyi hasn’t played anywhere near enough and he’s the sort of player who needs a run in the team.

He’s become the first Forest player to score in his first three Premier League starts and he deserves a run.

Birtles Awoniyi
(Photo; James Williamson; AMA; Getty Images)

Awoniyi will be desperate to make his mark on the Premier League.

He was on the books at Liverpool for a long time, but work permit issues prevented him from playing a single game.

After 18 goals in the Bundesliga last season, there is definitely a player in there.

Cooper must now place his faith in Awoniyi and hand him a run in the team on a regular basis.

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