That is good news and puts to rest speculation that he is one of the players Lennon would not be terribly sad to lose. Frankly, I don’t see how we could afford to. A core group of home-grown players will be essential going forward, and if Kieran is to go we need Forrest more than ever.
I think my name-sake is a fantastic player, but I didn’t always.
Before Rodgers came in and transformed him I thought we should have let him go. He visibly stagnated under Ronny. Yet it was Neil who gave him his break, and it is no surprise that Neil wants to get the best out of him, and perhaps more than even the Leicester boss was able to.
This comes down to what position Forrest is going to play in. As a winger, I still think he can be lacking. He sometimes runs into a wall of opposition players. His crossing of the ball is better, but his passing sometimes leaves a lot to be desired.
I have long argued on this site that Forrest is not a winger, but a striker. The number 10 role is built for him; there, all his attributes can be put to good use, everything from his pace to his good feet, and his ability to finish. There, we will see the best of him.
It is a stroke of genius from Lennon … and it further suggests that Tom Rogic is going to have a hell of a time getting into this Celtic team.
Lennon has said that he wants to keep Tom at Parkhead, but during the pre-season we watched Shved and Christie play the number 10 role and now Lennon wants Forrest to be able to play there. Rogic is still out with an injury – a depressingly familiar sentence to have to write – and we don’t know when he will be back. It makes sense to drill other players for his role … if the role itself survives the changes Lennon wants to make.
But his comments about Forrest definitely suggest that it will. Rogic’s position survives, but he is going to have a fight on his hands to get into it.
This is a good move for Forrest. As Lennon has pointed out, a winger loses some of his pace as he gets older and Forrest can no longer be thought of as a kid.
With Maryan Shved in the squad now, and with Morgan breathing down their necks, there is a need for our footballers to be more versatile than ever and Forrest has always been capable of playing different roles.
But this is the one he was born for.
At last, at long last, we are going to see him as the player he was meant to be.
Bravo to Neil Lennon for that.