Kieran Dowell has the potential to become an “all-round midfield player”, according to Nottingham Forest assistant boss David Weir – if the Everton loanee works on improving the “dirty” side of his game.
The 20-year-old has impressed for the Reds so far this season, making 19 appearances and scoring six goals, with his attacking play particularly catching the eye.
It is Dowell’s first loan experience and the first time he has enjoyed a run of senior football, having featured just a handful of times for his parent club in the past two seasons.
Weir says his raw talent is there for all to see, and expects the youngster to continue his upward curve during the rest of his spell at the City Ground.
Asked what Dowell needs to do in order to make an impact when he does return to Goodison Park, Weir told the ‘grand old team’ podcast: “I think he’s just got to keep improving. He’s improved in the time he’s been here.
“What he can do with the ball is really obvious to see. He always affects a game; he’s always either creating something or trying to score, or slipping people in and making things happen at the top end of the pitch.
“Maybe the other stuff, the dirty jobs, is where he can improve – and he is improving.
“If he wants to be an all-round midfield player – which undoubtedly he can – then he just needs to tidy up on some of these aspects.
“A lot of that is learning the game. The players tell him and his coaches tell him what he’s doing well and what he can work on.
“As everyone knows, the best lesson and the best things you learn are often in the heat of the moment.
“He’s reacted really positively and handled all the challenges which have come his way so far.”
Getting used to the way Forest want to play under manager Mark Warburton as well as the nature of the Championship have also been part of Dowell’s learning process.
Weir admits sometimes picking the right club to go on loan to can be difficult for young players, but is pleased this one is working out well for all concerned.
“He’s doing really well. I think he’s learning on the job. We’ve given him more and more football as he’s got used to us and got used to the demands,” Weir said of Dowell.
“He’s enjoying it.
“He’s getting better and better. He’s learning about us, about how we play. He’s learning about the league. And I think he’s learning a bit about himself as well.
“We’re really enjoying having him here.
“I think it’s been great for him. It will be great for Everton long-term and I think he’s getting a good loan experience.
“The loan experiences are difficult because sometimes some of the kids go out and it’s maybe not the ideal club for them; they don’t get as much football as they would have liked. They’re away from home and away from their (familiar) environment, so it’s a challenge.
“This one, so far, has been really good. Great credit to Kieran for that, and also to Everton for giving him to us and trusting us with him.”