The Roland Harris Column

Monday 03 March, 2003

If you are good enough, you are old enough: Michael Owen, Gareth Grant and Danny Forrest

If you think you have every seen anything like Danny Forrest's goal against Walsall on Saturday you are wrong.

It's probably not a one off but I can't think of than many that match it. It was a superb strike, pivoting around the waist a scissor kick past a great keeper. The goal came through brains. When Gus Uhlenbeek surged to the touchline many a City player of the past, the second raters I'm thinking here, would have watched him but not our boy. He saw Andy Gray had moved out and attacked the space. You don't teach that. You have it, or you don't.

The goal was Kop end, always best, but especially good cause it was around twenty yards from where the scorer used to sit.

I can't even imagine that feel or perhaps I just don't want to. I'm not that much older than Danny Forrest and what he did on Saturday was the afternoon equivalent of shagging Sarah Michelle Gellar on the evening. It's not a case that if you are a young City fan who came to the club as Geoffrey Richmond started the rise up the league, like a lot of us are, then you think Danny Forrest could be you.

It's that he is you.

Jealous? You bet your life. Every man, woman and child who ever cheered a City goal would have killed to be Danny Forrest on Saturday.

So what do we do with our own boy wonder?

Nicky Law likes him but seems nervous about using him. Forrest did really well from the front at Wimbledon to show his around play but I don't think that Law should persist with putting him on the wing as he did against Coventry City and Walsall.

Look at Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney. Both after speedy but neither get used on the flanks. Why? Because when Owen was 18 and Rooney/Forrest now are learning the game and like anyone learning it's important that they learn the right things.

We do not need Danny Forrest to know how to hug a line, we need him to know how to go through the middle.

Right now he is putty being made into a footballer. He will never learn more than he does in the next few months. His confidence is sky high, he will be arrogant enough to try things that someone once bitten wouldn't.

Think Gareth Grant. Grant had more skills than most other footballers and thought he could be a centreforward but his slight build always made managers pop him on the wing.

Just imagine if Chris Kamara or Paul Jewell had given Grant a run up against a few First Divison bruisers. It would have taught the kid a thing or two and either sent him home to mum or to the gym to learn how to power back.

Lets not waste Danny Forrest like we wasted Gareth Grant.

I say he is good enough to be considered as part of the striking pair. If Nicky Law wants ot play big man/little man then for me Forrest is ahead of the other two Dannys (Danny Cadamarteri and Daniel Ekoku? Ed) and should be paired with one of the club's big fellas (Ashley Ward or Andy Gray).

Then all we have to do is make sure that when he goes through a bad spell, cause all players do, the guy next to you doesn't boo him.

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