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One to Watch - Anthony Knockaert

One to Watch - Anthony Knockaert

Name: Anthony Knockaert
Date of Birth: 20.11.1991
Previous clubs: Guingamp, Leicester, Standard Liege.
Apps (goals): 235 (56)

Despite being undoubtedly Brighton`s standout playout this campaign with some mesmerising displays, and the Seagulls sitting second with six games of the season remaining, it has been a difficult few months for French attacker Anthony Knockaert following the death of his father at the beginning of November.

It was a devastating blow for the 25-year-old, who had begun the season in fine form, scoring six times in 15 league matches that helped catapult Brighton to the top end of the table, where they have remained throughout the campaign, and after a one game absence, he has returned to continue his fine form.

He has bagged 13 in total so far this term, one of which came in the 3-0 defeat of QPR back in December, adding to the brace he scored against Rangers in a 4-0 victory on the South Coast last year, with his total tally for the club standing at 18 in all competitions since joining Chris Houghton`s men in January 2016.

Having initially begun his career at French side Guincamp, he got his first taste of English football and the Championship when he moved to Leicester in August 2012 on a three-year-deal for a reported £2.3million fee, and made an instant impact, scoring nine goals as the Foxes finished in the play-offs.

It would however end in heartbreak for both the club and in particular Knockaert, who saw a late penalty saved in the semi-final second-leg against Watford, which would have almost certainly seen Leicester through to the final, only for the Hornets to score immediately after from a counter to emerge victorious.

Knockaert and his teammates put that disappointment swiftly behind them as they finished as title winners the following season, with the Frenchman chipping in with another seven goals, but after starting the opening game of the 2014/2015 Premier League season, his chances in the first team proved limited.

In total, he made nine top-flight appearances for Nigel Pearson`s side, his last coming in January 2015 after he rejected the option of a new deal with his contract set to expire that summer, and after Leicester survived the drop in the final few weeks of the season, Knockaert moved to Belgian side Standard Liege.

He would only spend a short stint at the club, making 20 appearances in total, before his switch to the Amex Stadium just over six months into his four-year deal in Belgium, and it has proved to be an inspired signing by Houghton, with Knockaert on course to secure a second promotion to the Premier League.

His performances this season have seen him shortlisted for Championship Player of the Year, form which saw the club award him with an improved deal at the beginning of January, extending his stay at the club until the end of the 2020/2021 season, as he finds himself arguably in the form of his career to date.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:Ryan Forrester
Date:Friday April 7 2017
Time: 4:45PM

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