Nottingham Forest Opinion: Forest should hold on to Joe Worrall at all costs
Worrall, who spent the last season on loan at Rangers north of the border, is currently back at the City Ground, with a view to impressing new Forest manager Sabri Lamouchi.
The 22-year-old defender established himself as one of the mainstays of Rangers’ backline under the tutelage of Steven Gerrard the last term and racked up a total of 32 appearances for the Gers in all competitions.
Having earned rave reviews for his consistently impressive displays at Ibrox in the previous campaign, Worrall will now be hoping to convince Lamouchi that he is good enough to play a substantial role in the first team next term.
The Hucknall-born centre-back has only 12 months left to run on his current contract at the City Ground and that is something that the likes of Hull City and QPR are apparently trying to take advantage of.
Despite being held in high regard at Forest, Worrall has found himself in and out of the first team at the City Ground, having made his senior competitive debut way back in November 2016.
Worrall, who burst onto the scene in the 2016-17 campaign under former manager Mark Warburton, made as many as 21 appearances in his debut campaign and impressed one and all with his talent and potential.
The highly-rated academy graduate followed it up with another 31 Championship appearances in the 2017-18 season before falling out of favour upon Aitor Karanka’s arrival at the City Ground.
He was in the middle of his loan stint at Rangers when Martin O’Neil came in to replace Karanka, thus missing out on an opportunity to mount a fresh challenge for a spot in the team.
That is likely to change now, though, if Worrall manages to impress Lamouchi, although he is likely to face stiff competition from the likes of Alexander Milosevic, Tobias Figueiredo, Michael Dawson, Yohan Benalouane and Jack Robinson for a role at the heart of the backline.
Worrall, however, has a head start on some of the aforementioned names, given that he has already accumulated 56 appearances for Forest in all competitions.
The fans are likely to be aware of the fact that he is already an established player at the club, despite his tender years, and the 22-year-old is just trying to win his place back in the team.
To put things into perspective, it doesn’t require a rocket scientist to figure out that losing out on a highly-rated academy prospect like Joe Worrall would deal a massive blow to Forest’s chances of securing promotion to the Premier League in the years to come.
Truth be told, it would be a real shame if Forest decide to let him go at a stage of his career where he is yet to reach his prime years. Worrall, 22, is still very young for a centre-back and very much in his formative years as a player.
Also, it is worth reminding the fans that the Championship’s tough grind and gruelling physicality make England’s second-tier arguably the most competitive second-division league in the world. Hence, it is certainly not a walk in the park for the youngsters, and definitely not for a centre-back aged just 22.
Worrall is already a giant in the making with his imposing 6ft. 4-inch frame, which coupled with his technical abilities on the ball and reading of the game, make him a bright prospect for the future.
Capable of outmuscling the opposition with his strength and winning aerial duels all day, the Englishman is already a very good defender for a player of his age and one would only expect him to get better with time.
Worrall is also widely acclaimed by the coaches in England’s U-21 setup and he the centre-back is best remembered for captaining the U-20 side to a triumphant campaign at the 2017 Toulon Tournament.
All in all, the 22-year-old is an immensely talented player with loads of potential and Forest would be committing a huge blunder by letting him depart this summer.
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He has it in him to go on and establish himself as the backbone of the club’s backline in the years to follow and, with that in mind, Forest should extend his contract at the earliest in an attempt to keep him at the club.