Jermaine Jenas was very impressed with Nottingham Forest player Richie Laryea, praising him live on air during Canada’s clash with Belgium.
It was a first half of mixed emotions for Canada. Playing in their first World Cup since 1986, they held their own against Belgium but missed a penalty.
Alphonso Davies saw a spot-kick saved by Thibaut Courtois in the opening exchanges of the clash.
Things got even worse on the stroke of half-time when Michy Batshuayi opened the scoring for Roberto Martinez’s team.
Interestingly, it was Laryea down the right who created the chance that would ultimately lead to Yannick Carrasco handling in the box.
The Canadians might have been left to rue not scoring that penalty and it would have changed the complexion of the game.
Laryea was the man who Forest fans were monitoring with intrigue. He started the game after a decent run of form on loan at Toronto FC.
The 27-year-old caught the eye of Jenas in the opening exchanges and drew praise from the ex-Forest man.
He said live on BBC One: “He’s started the game well down the right-hand side of the pitch. Really well.”
Later in the piece, with half-time edging close, the former England man called Laryea brilliant after his first-half efforts.
Jenas raves about Forest man Laryea
It was a very solid first half from the Reds’ performer and fans will have been very happy with what they saw.
Steve Wilson was the main commentator and he also had praise for Laryea during the opening 45 minutes.
He called the player exquisite after a quality ball into the box led to another good chance that Canada missed from inside the box.
Laryea endured a frustrating time of things at Forest last season; making just five appearances after arriving in January.
He was in competition with Djed Spence for a place and with the Reds chasing down promotion, Steve Cooper did very little rotation.
Laryea looks sound though and after some glimpses of quality, there could be hope that he gets a Forest chance in the future.