Garry Birtles has urged Anthony Knockaert to make a significant improvement between now and the end of the season, as Nottingham Forest weigh up a decision on his future.
Knockaert joined Forest initially on loan until January in the summer, but the Reds chose to extend his loan deal until the end of the campaign rather than activate their option to make the move permanent.
Knockaert – who won the Championship Player of the Season award in 2016/17 – has been an inconsistent performer under Chris Hughton this season.
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The Frenchman has 29 appearances in the Championship – 21 of those starts – scoring two goals and chipping in with a couple of assists.
Before Saturday’s trip to Ashton Gate, he had been left on the bench as an unused substitute for the previous three games, and it remains to be seen whether the club look to make a permanent move for the 29-year-old this summer.
Speaking on the Garibaldi Red podcast, former Forest striker Garry Birtles gave his thoughts on Knockaert, saying: “He has the ability, but at times he gets it wrong in good positions. He gets in excellent positions, but his decision-making in the final third is dreadful at times.
“It can be all about him, instead of bringing other players into play. He tries to go himself too much, instead of picking the right pass for someone else.
“You can’t afford to keep having that. He was brought in to be a creative element.
“He looks exciting when he gets around the box, with all the tricks and stepovers. But when you go beyond that, there hasn’t been a great deal there so far.”
Knockaert is such a frustrating figure.
On his day, he has the ability to be one of the best wingers at this level, and he has certainly shown flashes of his quality since joining the Reds.
But he’s been really inconsistent this season, and for the money it would cost Forest to lure him away from Fulham in the summer, I’m unsure as to whether he’s worth it.
He will be keen to impress between now and the end of the season with some winnable games on the horizon.