Zoomed N on Sam Surridge with Jamie Martin

Nashville SC finally completed the signing of Sam Surridge yesterday afternoon. The striker, set to turn 25 on Friday, has bounced around various levels of the English football pyramid, most recently playing in the Championship and Premier League with Nottingham Forest.

To get a better look at Surridge, who’s $6.4 million transfer fee could rise to become the biggest in Nashville SC history, we checked in with Jamie Martin. Jamie covers Nottingham Forest for Nottingham Sport, and did excellent reporting on the Surridge-to-Nashville saga.

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Ben Wright: Thanks for doing this, Jamie! For starters, can you tell me a bit about Sam Surridge? I know he’s played a lot at the Championship level but never quite broke in with Forest in the Premier League. What’s his career path been like and what level of player would you say he is?

Jamie Martin: He was initially described as a “panic buy” by some in the Forest fanbase, joining on deadline day for just over £2m. During the promotion season, he played as -typically – someone who’d come on in the second half and finish the opponents off, after struggling to contain fellow striker at the time, Keenan Davis. 

His career path has been tough, struggled to find his “home”, but he needs a fanbase that will love him as much as Forest did, but also match that with adequate game time.

He’s a top level player, but he needs the change to show that.

BW: On the field, how would you describe him? What type of player would you say he is?

JM: A goal scorer. You pick an angle, he will bend it in. 

He has incredible accuracy, can finish without a first touch on the ball before hand. Not the fastest, but by no means slow. Okay level of physicality.

He’s passionate, and does have an eye for goal – on the counter-attack, he’s particularly dangerous. 

BW: Not to be cliché, but what would you say are his biggest strengths and biggest weaknesses? What does he need to improve on to really take a step forward?

JM: His biggest strengths are probably, as mentioned before, building up the play before a goal, and then the end product, an excellent placed shot into the back netting.

A weakness I can name is probably that he isn’t a real physical threat like some other strikers; for Forest, Awoniyi is a very physical striker, Sam isn’t quite like that.

BW: Nashville have relied heavily on having a target forward up top who can both play with his back to goal, but also stretch the field a bit and open up space for Hany Mukhtar underneath. I don’t know how much, if any, you’ve watched of Nashville or MLS, but how do you expect Surridge to adapt to the MLS level?

JM: I’ll admit, I don’t watch the MLS that often, so I haven’t seen much of Nashville – however, Surridge can definitely offer the above. The counter attack with Mukhtar will be dangerous, Sam will aid that on a major basis — it’ll be a great partnership, I’m sure.

BW: Surridge is just 24, and although he’s never quite broken through at the highest levels, he’s been close. What do you think his aspirations are long-term? Do you think he’s hoping to score some goals in MLS and make a push back to Europe in the next 2-3 years?

JM: Yes, he has high aspirations, absolutely.

Is MLS the future of his career? For now, of course, but forever? I’m not sure. I do believe he will work as hard as he can to get back not only to Europe, but to the Premier League. He has a point to prove, and he has time to do that.

But by no means does that mean his focus won’t be on winning everything he can with Nashville – he’s a team player, and despite the adversity he faced at Forest, he laced up his boots and got on with it when called upon.

BW: What’s the perception of Surridge from a Forest perspective? From Twitter at least, it seems like fans are fond of him. 

JM: The fans are, absolutely. He’s been isolated from our viewing for most of the last year, which was a real shame, but nobody will forget his crucial goals in Forest’s promotion.

Super Sam he was called, I hope the name carries on at Nashville, because when he’s on-form, he’s a seriously incredible striker.

Really hard not to like him, to be honest.

BW: I really appreciate your time, as well as your reporting on this whole saga. Where can our readers follow your work?

JM: Very kind, a pleasure to have been able to answer these questions – I wish Nashville all the best, I’ll be following you guys! I’d love to visit.

You can follow me on Twitter via the username: @ImJamieMartin or @JamieMartin_Journalist on Instagram.

Take care, and good luck for this season!

Author: Ben Wrightis the Director of Soccer Content and a Senior MLS Contributor for Broadway Sports covering Nashville SC and the US National Team. Previously Ben was the editor and a founder of Speedway Soccer, where he has covered Nashville SC and their time in USL before journeying to Major League Soccer since 2018. Raised in Louisville, KY Ben grew up playing before a knee injury ended his competitive career. When he is not talking soccer he is probably producing music, drinking coffee or hanging out with his wife and kids. Mastodon

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