Pundit and commentator Andy Hinchcliffe believes Keinan Davis may need to improve his finishing technique if he wants to be a major success at new loan side Nottingham Forest, speaking on the Sky Sports EFL Podcast.
The 23-year-old arrived at the City Ground on Saturday, coming in as Forest’s first signing of the January window as a much-needed addition after what was a long-term search for a striker to come in and challenge the likes of Lewis Grabban and Lyle Taylor.
Although Grabban has been fit and firing again this term after a disappointing 2020/21 campaign under former boss Chris Hughton, Taylor has only been a bit-part player under current manager Steve Cooper, even being overtaken in the pecking order by winger Philip Zinckernagel.
Quiz: Can you name which club Nottingham Forest signed these 28 midfielders from?
Watford loanee Zinckernagel’s more central role is clearly a tactical decision with Grabban often playing out wide – but the Dane may find his starting spot is now in jeopardy with Aston Villa man Davis coming in as another goalscorer for the remainder of the campaign as he makes the short move from Villa Park.
The Villa forward was thought to be closing in on a loan move to Stoke City before a severe injury in early August ruled out a summer move.
Mainly operating as a fringe player since breaking through at the West Midland side, he will desperate to make a real impression at the City Ground but Sky Sports commentator Hinchliffe is one man that had been watching Davis before this month’s loan move.
Speaking about the key aspect of his game that the Englishman could improve, Hinchliffe said: “I watched Keinan Davis when he first emerged and he had that physicality, his movement off the ball is good but he needs to find some subtlety, certainly in terms of his finishing.
“Everything he does, he smashes. I remember him hitting the crossbar from the penalty spot in a game that I covered and he didn’t need to belt the ball as hard as he did and he lost control, hit the bar and I remember we were saying ‘he was unfortunate’.
“He wasn’t unfortunate, it’s how he finished it. That’s how he finishes chances.”
He may still have aspects of his game that he needs to iron out having not been a regular starter in recent years – but that’s what he needs to use his Forest loan for because he’s definitely a talented player – and this will be a mutually beneficial temporary move for both Forest and the forward if he can start firing.
Young forward Rhian Brewster seemed to thrive at Swansea City under Cooper’s stewardship during the latter stages of the 2019/20 campaign – and Davis will be hoping the Welshman can have a similar impact on him as he looks to kickstart his career.
Being a semi-regular player at a club like Villa is no mean feat – but at 23 – he needs to be starting regularly and he may receive an opportunity like this in the East Midlands.
However, there’s no shortage of competition for spots in the front three, so he will need to maximise his performance levels if he’s to win and retain a spot in the first 11.
In the end, that competition could go on to push him further, so this is the perfect environment for him to come into during what could be a make or break next few months for him in terms of the success of his career.