Reid celebrates scoring against Watford. Credit: Nigel French/EMPICS Sport
SO AFTER FIVE years in the international wilderness, Andy Reid’s exile is over.
The midfielder’s return to Ireland was one of the main talking points from Noel King’s first squad announcement last week along with recalls for Darron Gibson, Anthony Stokes and Kevin Doyle.
An infamous falling out with former manager Giovanni Trapattoni back in 2008 looked to effectively ended his days in a green jersey prematurely but Reid has found a new lease at Nottingham Forest this season and is now looking to add to his 27 senior caps against Germany on Friday.
“I’m absolutely delighted,” Reid told Forest’s website. “It’s been a long time and there has been quite a bit made of me not being in the squad. I’ve always been really proud of playing for my country.
“It’s a great honour and to be involved again will be absolutely fantastic. I’m really grateful for the opportunity.
I feel like I’m playing well and it would be nice for me to taste some international action. Hopefully I’ll perform on that stage as well.”
A player who is well-known for struggling to keep down his weight, Reid has trimmed down and is enjoying arguably the best form of his career at the club he left Cherry Orchard as a teenager for before moving on to Spurs, Charlton, Sunderland and Blackpool.
Adored by fans at the City Ground, the 31-year-old has repaid the faith put in him by manager Billy Davies as starts in all 11 of their Championship games have produced five goals and five more assists.
He was also named Player of the Month for August by Forest, who are currently sitting fourth in the table thanks to six wins and just one defeat.
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Check out some of his goals and assists:
YouTube credit: NFFCTube
Many of our readers will not have watched many Nottingham Forest games this season. So tell us, how good has Andy Reid been playing recently?
It’s not an exaggeration to say that without him they would have been absolutely lost. He has been such an influential figure this season. I’d go as far as saying he has probably been one of the better performers in the Championship.
His weight has been an issue over the years but he is looking fit right now. Did he or the club make a conscious decision to tackle that?
Just over a year ago, he really made an obvious effort to get in shape and it made a big difference as he was an important player for Forest last season. The difference is he kept it off and looked fit all through last year.
This year he looks even fitter if anything. He probably looks as fit as I’ve seen him in a long time. Towards the final stages against Brighton when Forest were down to ten men, he was still getting up and down and able to join in the attacks.
Without being overly critical, that’s not something that he would have been able to do a couple of years ago. I don’t know if he realises that he’s looking towards the final few years of his career and thinking that if he keeps himself in shape he might have another three or four years left in him.
Besides his goals, has his all-round game been impressive?
Absolutely. He has played in a couple of different roles for Forest. They play a 4-1-3-2 and he is in that attacking midfield three. He has played on the left and in the more central role as well, which you wouldn’t have seen from him in the past.
He is fit enough now to play in the centre where you perhaps need an even greater work rate. And he has done it without looking out of place so his fitness has probably made a real difference to his adaptability and versatility.
What position do you think is his strongest?
He can do very well in the centre but when he plays there you miss his delivery from wide positions. There’s nobody else in the team who can whip in a cross as well as he can.
When he plays centrally he still tends to drift out a bit but when he is stuck to the touchline and puts the ball in, he has got more quality than anyone else in the Championship. So he’s probably still most effective out wide on the left.
His delivery from dead ball situations is an important part of his game. Is he on set-piece duty?
Yes. There’s another lad called Raddy Majewski who is also quite handy but he is right-footed so between the two of them they’ve got pretty good options.
Is he well-liked by the Forest fans?
Yes, absolutely. He had a few options when he signed for the club two years ago but he made it clear that he was coming back to Forest because he has got an affinity with the club from when he started his career here.
He intimated that he could have made more money elsewhere but it didn’t make a difference to him as he wanted to help Forest get back into the Premier League. The fans love him.
Finally, do you think he has a something to offer Ireland at international level?
I do. If anything, international football might suit him better. I don’t particularly know how Ireland like to play but in general you do seem to get more time on the ball in international football.
If that is the scenario and you got Reidy on the ball he has got the kind of quality to pick out a pass against anybody. His passing is his biggest strength. I can’t see a downside to it (his return).