Republic of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill feels ex-Nottingham Forest striker Nicklas Bendtner will probably look back on his career with a tinge of regret, though he admits he’s cautious about the danger the striker poses ahead of their showdown this weekend.
Bendtner, now at Rosenborg, spent a season-long loan spell at Sunderland five years ago when O’Neill took over at the Stadium of Light, scoring six times on the way to keeping the Black Cats in the Premier League.
The former Forest midfielder believes Bendtner, who had a disappointing loan spell at the City Ground last season, has the talent to achieve more than he has in the game after a flurry of moves failed to work out for the 29-year-old.
“I think at some stage he might look back and realise that he hasn’t got everything out of the talent that he possessed, because he was naturally a really decent footballer, really decent,” O’Neill said.
“I had him on loan at Sunderland and when Nicklas turned up he was a very good player. Really good.
“He had a lot of talent. I’d seen him first of all when he was at Birmingham City. I remember seeing Birmingham play one day and he was on loan from Arsenal.
“Nicklas thought that he should be the lead player for Arsenal and that wasn’t working out, so he was on loan at Sunderland when I got there.
“But, in fairness to Nicklas, he played his part. When he was right, he was very strong. But he didn’t always like the North East.
“He liked to get back down to London very quickly and sometimes when you have a loan player you wonder whether his heart is really in it.”
Bendtner left Forest in March for Rosenborg and went on to score 18 times as he helped the Trondheim club win a record 25th Norwegian title.
He could start the clash at Telia Parken due to Nicolai Jorgensen looking doubtful because of a fractured wrist.