Writer: Tom Bodell
Date:Wednesday July 3 2013
Nottingham Forest supporter Will Ward gives Vital Watford the lowdown on new signing, Lewis McGugan.
What sort of midfielder are we getting in Lewis McGugan?
As many people know, McGugan is an explosive midfielder. The phrase 'on his day' is used quite frequently when talking about McGugan, mainly because his strongest critics believe he doesn't have many 'days'.
In his seven years at Forest, he's seen off many managers. All have put their faith in McGugan, and all have been left slightly bewildered by his inconsistency.
On their first day, many of our new managers have faced the question, 'How will you get the best out of Lewis McGugan?'. All have talked him up. For most, he's repaid them with a flurry of great games. Then though, it's as if he gets caught up in his own hype, and his form trails off.
The one person to change that slightly is Billy Davies. Having publicly embarrassed McGugan to the media about his weight issues, McGugan changed his ways and performed well for a third of a season to fire us to the play-offs.
It's been said for years that Lewis should probably leave Forest, as he might perform better when he's out of his comfort zone and can just focus on his football.
Hopefully that place for him is Watford, because he showed a lot of early promise, similarly to Jermaine Jenas who came through our academy a few years before him, and many expected McGugan to follow in his footsteps. That's yet to happen, and McGugan still has potential to fulfil.
Normally when a player spends seven years at a club, they're known as a hero/legend. McGugan's known as a squad player, and not a lot more.
What are McGugan's strengths?
His strengths without a doubt are his ability to strike a ball from long range. I imagine he'll be wanting to take every free-kick. Whilst a lot may go waywardly, the ones that do go in will be memorable.
His long-range passing is a delight to watch also. Whenever he's around the box, he's a danger and not someone that the opposition wants to give any space to.
Whenever there's a pressure penalty too, he is sure to slot it home, no doubts.
What are McGugan's weaknesses?
He has a tendency to walk through games he starts. Many times I've seen him over the years, not willing to move into space to perhaps create space for others. Often he can be a real passenger, and it's like playing with 10 men. Maybe with the technically brilliant Italian players you will have on board, as well as Zola as coach, that will change.
He's not keen on making challenges and putting a foot in.
He has been known to search for every avenue of personal glory before doing the simpler thing for the team, and passing. When they go in, you're more forgiving. When they're ending up in Row Z, patience can often wear thin.
How did Forest play last season & how did McGugan fit into that?
He started the season well under Sean O'Driscoll, and for the first six or seven games he was an integral part of the brilliant football we played in the first few months.
Typically for his career though, his form trailed off and he found himself on the bench, and would've probably left in January if O'Driscoll had kept his job.
Alex McLeish came, and was asked the age-old question about McGugan. With McLeish showing previous interest while at Birmingham, we thought we'd finally found the manager to get McGugan playing well for 90 minutes.
McLeish barely played him, and barely lasted himself after a tragic few weeks.
Billy Davies came back, and used him brilliantly as a super-sub. Despite many goals off the bench, Davies would insist on keeping him on the bench to keep him on his toes, and week after week he rescued us when we were looking rather stale and fatigued towards the end of a match.
You'll see many Forest fans calling him one of the best players in the division. You'll see others call him the laziest waste of space that has played for the club. It goes from one extreme to the other with him, and it will be interesting to see how he fares in the next stage of his career.
You can follow Will on Twitter (@will_forest) and you can also view his articles for Football FanCast - including one on McGugan himself - by clicking here.
Date:Wednesday July 3 2013
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