Ronny Deila believes James Forrest has 'something special', predicts big season

Ronny Deila has heaped praise on Celtic winger James Forrest.

Celtic manager Ronny Deila has told The Scottish Sun that winger James Forrest has 'something special' - and could have a big season ahead of him.

Forrest, 24, has come up through the ranks at Celtic having joined as a teenager, but has struggled to shake off injuries during his time in the first team.

Last season, the Scottish international hit four goals and four assists in 29 games, showing promise in Deila's first season in charge at Celtic Park.

Ahead of the new season, Celtic fans will be looking for Forrest to take the next step in his career, and become a consistent contributor in the first team rather than just an impact substitute.

Manager Deila has told The Scottish Sun that Forrest is getting better and better, and predicts that - if he keeps going at the same rate of development - Forrest could be a vital player for Celtic.

"James can be very important," said Deila. "He has something special on the ball, he can get past people and create chances. He looks much stronger now, but we have to be patient. For me, he was working at 40 per cent of his potential. Now he is on 60-70 per cent. If we can get him up to 100 per cent then everyone knows what his potential is like then."

"James looks very confident and I’m not afraid when he is on the pitch now. In the first half of the year I was hoping nothing would go wrong, but you knew it would happen because he wasn’t in good shape. His whole core and everything was not right, but we’ve got that right now and he can do more and more," he added.

Change of pace

Celtic have a number of creative midfield players, such as Stefan Johansen, Stuart Armstrong and Kris Commons, but Forrest offers something different to all three.

Forrest is a natural winger who wants to stay on the touchline, take on defenders with his pace and dribbling ability before hitting the byline and getting the ball into the box.

That change of pace offered by Forrest has so far made him an effective substitute to bring on when the opposition are tired, but Forrest needs to now impact games on a regular basis, developing his game beyond just pace and taking players on.

If Deila can nurture the winger as he believes he can, then there is every chance that Forrest could become important not only for Celtic, but also for Scotland.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch