Scout report: Forest fan on McCleary
1) If I would have told you two years ago that McCleary would be playing Premier League football in two years, what would have your reaction been?
I would've laughed, assuming it was other than getting there with Forest. McCleary was a fringe player until the start of this year. He'd often shown some potential, usually as an impact sub, but for whatever reason he never got a regular run in the team until Cotterill came in. Certainly two years I ago I'd have been surprised if most Premier League clubs had even heard of him.
2) What are his strengths?
He's got pace and is a lively winger. He found his goalscoring touch in the second half of last season and galvanised the team with his form. He likes to run at defenders and get crosses in. 9 goals and 7 assists is a decent return, especially as he didn't start playing regularly until December.
3) What are his weaknesses?
He's been injured a fair bit. He sometimes suffers from the 'run now, think later' sort of approach, in that he gets into a good position then doesn't know what to do with it. Also the first three Forest managers he played under either couldn't get the best out of him or decided he wasn't good enough, make of that what you will.
4) Do you think his form was a huge factor in you pushing away from the relegation zone in March and April?
Yes there's no doubt he played a big part in our survival, obviously the four goals against Leeds being the highlight. I think he benefitted from having an extended run in the team and knowing he'd be starting every game, as he picked up form his confidence grew and he was one of the key players we looked to for goals.
5) What are our personal feelings about him leaving on a bosman?
I think we will miss him, but if you'd asked me at the start of the year I'd have said we wouldn't - he's far from irreplaceable. I can't blame him for going, he caught the eye with his performances and has tripled his wages from what I've read. Given the uncertainty over ownership and future of the club, it's not surprising he turned down a new contract at the time.
6) Do you think he could do a job in the Premier League?
I have my doubts - he's only really had one good half season with us, apart from that he hasn't had much impact in four years. He may have just been putting himself in the shop window knowing he was out of contract. However, perhaps he just needed a manager to show faith in him.