"...this is the most articulate and accurate piece written about the club for years!" - Tales from the Front, http://www.otib.co.uk/

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Paul Anderson - can he finally fulfil his potential?

A couple of weeks ago I asked three Nottingham Forest fans to give a view on our new signing Greg Cunningham.  The result was a resounding thumbs-up, a player they all had wished had returned to The City Ground following his loan spell last season.

Derek McInnes has raided the former European Champions again, this time for permanent employee Paul Anderson, a winger who has dotted around league one and the Championship, often threatening to make an impact sufficient enough to earn a really big move, but without ever quite managing to maintain form on a consistent basis.

So, how do the three Forest fans view City's signing of Anderson?  A perfect foil for Cunningham? A player to unlock the tightest of defences, or another once bright young prospect who sadly looks as if he'll never really make it in the top two divisions?

Peter Blackburn @petermblackburn
Peter is a trainee journalist and indicates City have a player who, given a chance, might just be a big success
"When considering Paul Anderson’s time at Nottingham Forest, it is difficult to shake off the overwhelming feeling that we never really knew him at all.
Having arrived amid fanfare and with the well wishes of many disappointed Liverpool fans who felt he could have been a success at Anfield, big things were expected of Anderson in a Forest shirt.
Despite the promise though, Anderson struggled to show his talent on a regular basis. During heady years under Billy Davies, the former Liverpool man did a job on both wings; Working hard, showing flashes of pace and grabbing the occasional goal. Success was relatively sparse though – Anderson struggled to show consistent form and persistent minor injuries seemed to rob him of the confidence to run at his man.
At his best, in Forest’s first playoff season under Billy Davies, Anderson was a good player to have around – perhaps not in an enigmatic and flair-driven sense that is often hoped for in a winger – but showed that he is a relatively ever-present fully committed and decent footballer.
Above all else, Anderson’s plus points lie in his character. Without doubt a player with a genuine work ethic and desire to work toward the common cause, the very minimum that Bristol City can expect is a versatile, reliable signing with the potential to contribute to decent football.
However, there is more to be gained from Paul Anderson. Underneath the quiet exterior lies a player of technique, pace and ability –should Derek McInnes be able to coax some confidence out of him, Bristol City could have made a signing of some quality."

Steve Wright@Mistrollingin
Steve writes his own excellent website - My Life in Football

"Paul Anderson is one of those players who splits opinion, but whilst some are still convinced that there is a talented footballer in there who can be nurtured into a dangerous Championship winger most have given up hope of ever seeing it happen.

When he arrived at the City Ground from Liverpool, having performed well whilst on loan at Swansea, he seemed like an exciting attacking prospect who would run defenders ragged with pace and skill.

Billy Davies was never a man for carrying flair though and having played with attacking license and little defensive responsibility in Wales suddenly he was expected to cover the ground of a marauding wing back.

This determination of the manager to ensure that all of his team would put in a shift stilted all the good things that Anderson had to offer and although he did what he was told with admirable commitment he was no longer seen taking on his full back and dominating the attacking third.

Whilst some will question his final product and point to long periods spent on the treatment table, I cannot help but think that in the right environment he can rediscover his enjoyment of the game that unsurprisingly flourished in the free flowing football of The Liberty Stadium."

James Bolton @Bolton0301
James runs the Forest website View from the Main Stand

"Paul Anderson’s career at Forest was one of two halves. He impressed during a loan spell in the 2008/09 season and made a permanent switch from Liverpool the following summer.

The 2009/10 season was Anderson’s best in Forest colours. He was a regular, making 44 appearances, bagging 5 goals. He put in fine displays at home to Leicester City and away at Sheffield Wednesday and really did look like a young player with a lot of promise.

Although an increased number came from the bench, Anderson still made 39 appearances for Forest during the 2010/11 season, scoring 4 times. It was however becoming increasingly difficult for him to recreate his form from the previous year and sadly, when he isn’t on form, he is an incredibly frustrating player to have to watch.

The 2011/12 season was dogged with injuries, as he experienced two separate layoffs each lasting over 3 months. This coupled with the emergence of Garath McCleary as first choice right winger meant Anderson’s opportunities were seriously limited and a future at Forest looked unlikely.

He is a decent free transfer and has proved he can perform at this level, although he hasn’t done so for two seasons. His biggest asset is his pace, which he has a lot of, he just needs to learn to do something with it. He is seriously lacking in strength, void of ideas when running with the ball and is missing that final product or cross which sets you apart as a winger. At times, it was hard to find a better word than ‘useless’ to describe his almost non-existent performances. I do hope he regains some form though, because he always ran his socks off for us. Hopefully a change of scenery will do that for him, but it might not be easy viewing."

So, who is the real Paul Anderson?  Is it a case that he hasn't fulfilled his undoubted potential or perhaps just wasn't offered enough freedom in a defensive, hard-working Forest team?  What does seem certain is that he is no Albert Adomah - it doesn't appear as if we will see lots of flicks, tricks and flair, but perhaps could offer that balance on the left flank that City struggled to achieve last season too often and allow Stephen Pearson to slot in more centrally, where he potentially is more effective.

Whatever the outcome, McInnes has added yet more pace and another 20-something player to the squad - a fresh face with something to prove - and is undoubtedly now forming the squad into the style he envisions.

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