Michail’s the man!
As the curtain of Nottingham Forest’s somewhat disappointing Championship campaign draws nearer to a close, for me there is only one outstanding candidate who should be crowned Forest’s Player of the Season. Amongst the seven freshly announced candidates who will be battling it out for the prestigious award, I believe that there is one runaway favourite.
Whilst the Reds’ early promotion hopes have long since fizzled out, there has at least been one beacon of success that has raised bums off seats and given fans’ something to shout about. Step forward, Michail Antonio, who in his début season for the club has stolen the limelight and merited his £1.5 million transfer fee paid to Championship rivals Sheffield Wednesday.
Antonio is on course to be added to the illustrious list of players to have won the award recently, which includes club skipper Chris Cohen and midfield maestro Andy Reid. Antonio joined the club following a successful stint at Sheffield Wednesday, which began with the winger spearheading the Owl’s promotion crusade to the Championship in the 2011/12 season whilst initially on loan from parent club Reading.
Antonio arrived at Forest on the back of a fierce reputation as being an inconsistent high velocity attack-minded midfielder who simultaneously thrilled and infuriated the Wednesdayites. Inconsistency has ceased to be an issue for the 25-year-old following his move to the City Ground in the summer and we have seen Antonio emerge as the Reds’ most impressive performer.
The lively midfielder made an immediate impact for Forest by firing past the outstretched arm of Blackpool goalkeeper Joe Lewis just 25 minutes into his Forest début after reacting swiftly to convert the ball following Reid’s effort which bounced off the post.
Antonio has continued to thrive in the colours of the Garibaldi and has notched up a career best total of fifteen league goals and amassed countless assists thus far. He has been utilised in several different roles in his Forest career so far, whether it be hitting teams on the break under former boss Stuart Pearce, leading the forward line or simply being given the freedom to drift and cut inside the opposing full-backs under Dougie Freedman.
Whatever role that Antonio has been asked to play he has produced the goods. Credit must go to Stuart Pearce for uncovering the blistering winger who has single-handedly unlocked defences at times this season and hit the net with a cluster of magnificent goals, not too dissimilar to the style of Stan Collymore.
It remains to be seen whether Freedman can convince his talisman that his future lies at Forest, with the 25-year-old likely to be the subject of much transfer speculation in the summer, but Antonio is a surety to win the fans’ award.