James Forrest Is Finally Becoming A Real Star At Celtic!

When James Forrest first burst onto the Celtic scene, he was a youngster who was full of fantastic potential. At one time his energetic performances were linking him with a £9m move to Tottenham Hotspur and won him the Young Player of the Year award in Scotland.

Unfortunately for a lot of players that have fantastic potential, it’s a lot harder to fulfil that potential and become a true star!

It seemed Forrest was one such player that wouldn’t quite live up to the early expectation. During the end of Ronny Deila era it seemed that James had come to the conclusion that he’d need to leave Celtic Park.

It was thought that the youngster would sum up what we had come to expect of Scottish wingers during the previous generation; exciting at times but far too inconsistent. He also had persistent issues with his hamstrings.

Forrest wouldn’t seem to score enough, nor would he produce a good amount of assists in the final third.

Then Brendan Rodgers would arrive in Parkhead and the whole squad seemed to step up a couple of gears and Forrest in particular seemed to come out of shadows.

During the Double Treble seasons, Rodgers first two in charge, Forrest played in 1o2 games across various competitions and he scored twenty-five goals. Those seasons showed us that the wide-man could be reliable enough to be used more often than not and that he could consistently be a game changer for his side.

One of the biggest compliments I can pay the twenty-seven year old is that last season The Hoops didn’t really miss Patrick Roberts. The Englishman re-signed for Celtic during the summer of 2017 but missed a fair chunk of the season due to injury but Forrest was so good you’d be forgiven if you forgot Roberts was even there!

On the right wing, Forrest gives the Scottish Premiership champions plenty of pace. His excellent close control, means that he’s great when dribbling at opponents and he can confuse them by cutting in or heading to the touchline.

The forward is also a pretty strong and composed finisher, hence why his goal tally has been increasing in recent years. His hunger to be constantly involved must make him a treat to play alongside, as he has the ability to pick out key passes for teammates.

Another strength that James possesses is his work ethic. Under Brendan, the Scot is happy to charge back and help his full-backs. He’s tenacious and determined in the tackle too. He even has enough defensive awareness to be used as a right sided wing-back if necessary.

Rodgers has been full of compliments regarding Forrest:

“He’s one of the best I’ve ever worked with in terms of taking the ball so tight to the line. He has the ability to beat people on the inside or outside and he’s got different ways of finishing.”

“Wingers are so important at this level. They can’t afford to switch off. Tactically, they have to participate in the game all the time. Sometimes you can get away with turning the engine off domestically, but you can’t at this level.”

“That’s one of the big things he has improved, his concentration level. His pressing, hunger and desire to get the ball is great, then it gets him into areas where he can really show his quality.”

James has continued his sensational form into this season. He’s already scored nine goals in his first twenty-two appearances this term, including four strikes against St Johnstone in one game. He’s also produced four assists in the Scottish top flight and one in the Europa League.

The winger is also prone to scoring in the bigger encounters. He’s scored in three winning League Cup finals over the years. He grabbed a goal in the semi-final win over Hearts this year and then scored again against the Jambos in the league.

The Ayrshire native also managed to take his scoring form into the international stage, scoring a brace in Scotland’s recent 4-0 victory over Albania in the Nations League.

We can no longer question James Forrest’s ability nor his consistency levels. The twenty-seven year old is playing out of his skin and he’s now the creative star that both Celtic and Scotland had be hoping for.

Long may it continue!

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