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Pre Season Friendly - Burton Albion v Nottingham Forest

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Is Ateef Konate any good? Nottingham Forest fans give us the lowdown on Sunderland target

Sunderland have been linked to Ateef Konate - but is he any good? We don’t know, so we enlisted the help of Forest fans Grant and Dan to find out more about the French midfielder

Photo by Jon Hobley/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

RR: Ateef Konate has been linked with a move to Sunderland. Is he any good?

Grant: As ever, it is tough to know just how good until he gets a run of games as a senior player but he definitely has the base talent to open up games from nothing.

Talk Forest TV: I would say he is a talented player, and is technically very good.

He can play anywhere along the midfield or behind the striker, which is handy.

RR: From a few of the things I’ve read online it seems fans at Forest have been keen to see what the lad can do. Why do you think he hasn’t been given a chance?

Grant: It’s been one hell of a rollercoaster since Steve Cooper joined Forest. We’ve been pushing up the table from the bottom of the Championship to promotion. Cooper actually gave him his debut off the bench in the league versus Barnsley in our run. But you know how it is, the Premier League money is there and unfortunately he hasn’t been trusted now we are here.

Talk Forest TV: Simply, due to the form of the players who have been in the first-team squad within the past 12 to 16 months, Ateef has found it hard to break through.

RR: His record for your U21s side looks impressive. How has he done?

Grant: He has done excellently. He was a large source of goals and assists in our run to the D2 playoffs last season, and he’s just carried it on this season. You just feel if he is playing well we will score goals at that level.

Talk Forest TV: Yeah, he’s done really well for the under-21s.

He’s been on top form for them - you can tell he’s ready to break through to the first team.

Reidy [Andy Reid, ex-Sunderland midfielder] and Dave Rogers got the best out of him playing him in the number ten role, at the top of the midfield.

Nottingham Forest v Barnsley - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Jon Hobley/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

RR: What sort of player is he, then? What are his biggest strengths and weaknesses?

Grant: He is an attacker/attacking midfielder. Our U21 coach gave him free rein to float around and get him on the ball as much as possible to carry attacks through in the final third. He starts centrally but can receive in wide areas.

His strengths: beating players 1v1, his ball-carrying, and his skill to create space for himself. But on the other side of the coin, his decision making and selfishness is an issue. On occasion he does make the wrong choice of going for goal when perhaps setting someone up in a better position than him, but I guess that is part of the make-up what makes him the player he is. He believes in himself.

Talk Forest TV: Ateef is one of those players who likes to receive the ball and run at defenders. He’s a brilliant passer, and he likes to showboat!

In terms of strengths, he’s very good at collecting the ball and making things in the attacking third happen. He’s very good at finding pockets to play in.

And weaknesses... he’s hot-headed. When he loses it, he gets into trouble.

RR: Do you think he still has a future at Forest? What do you think the future holds for him?

Grant: It’s probably unlikely if we stay in the Premier League, and at his age he needs to be playing senior football. So, the only possibility he has a future at Forest is if we are relegated.

Talk Forest TV: I still think he has a future at Forest. I think he’s now ready for a loan spell to get himself ready for the first team. If he can’t break through by the end of next season, then he needs to move on.

RR: What would you say to any Sunderland fans who aren’t really sure about him?

Grant: Believe in the reason why your recruitment has decided to go down the development route of raw talent that needs an opportunity - plus, he has a fun side of his game you can just appreciate as a lover of football.

Talk Forest TV: I would say: take a chance on him. He can be a very gifted player on his day who is capable of producing moments of magic.


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