Costel Pantilimon remains a player with the ability to divide opinion at Nottingham Forest.

The big Romanian has as many detractors as he does supporters.

That, though, comes with the territory.

Goalkeepers, more than any other position, place themselves under the brightest of spotlights.

Mistakes are often costly.

And spark inevitable questioning of supposed ability.

Keep the ball out of the net, and that is merely doing your job.

A no-win situation in many ways.

Pantilimon has been around long enough to know what he is letting himself in for.

Keepers need thick skin, and the 32-year-old’s should be almost rhino-esque by now.

Reliable

(Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images)

You are never going to please everybody all of the time.

Even the likes of David de Gea, Alisson and Manuel Neuer have faced critics with club and/or country down the years.

They have learned to live with that.

Said trio occupy a talent bracket among the more consistent at the very top of the game.

Pantilimon cannot be considered among the most reliable last lines of defence.

There are flaws in his game.

Distribution, aerial prowess for one so tall, communication and decision making have been sticks to beat him with down the years.

He does, however, boast plenty of strengths.

There has also been a notable shift since the arrival of Martin O’Neill towards ironing out some of the more glaring issues which have held him back.

A new coaching staff has brought a fresh set of eyes and ideas to the fold.

Questions

 

Some of the same old questions remain though.

Will Forest be in the market for a new keeper this summer?

Should they be?

Who would be the top targets if a No. 1 is sought?

Various names could be plucked out of thin air and considered by many to be an upgrade.

The Reds, though, need to tread carefully.

As they have discovered in the managerial market in recent times, the grass is not always greener on the other side.

Pantilimon will not be as easy to replace as many would have you believe.

He may not be faultless, but he has been ticking plenty of boxes that go unnoticed.

When comparing him to Championship rivals who have been regulars at their respective clubs this season, the former Manchester City custodian fares admirably in the areas which matter most.

Busy

(Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

Pantilimon has 13 clean sheets to his name this season – only Darren Randolph (18), Dean Henderson (18) and Jack Butland (17) have more.

Shot-stoppers at Middlesbrough (76.92) and Sheffield United (73.1) are also the only men to sit above him when it comes to save percentage.

As things stand, Pantilimon is ticking over at 72.47%.

So, almost three quarters of the attempts on goal that he faces are kept out.

Given that he has been kept relatively busy at times, that is a decent return and underlines value to the cause which may not get the credit it deserves.

Is he perfect?

No, far from it.

Does he deserve to be dumped as part of another transfer window rebuild at the City Ground?

That is not as clear cut.