Nottingham Forest defender Joe Worrall has shown a new, more complete, level of performance at the heart of the Reds defence so far this campaign, following his return from a loan spell in Scotland with Steven Gerrard’s Rangers last season.
While being shipped out on loan could have been seen as the beginning of the end of his time with Forest, the move instead appears to have galvanised and improved Worrall, and the central defender has not missed a minute of Championship action so far as he’s struck up a solid partnership with the experienced Michael Dawson, forming the bedrock of Forest’s early season success.
Worrall has always been a footballing centre back, comfortable with the ball at his feet. While this is almost a necessity in today’s game, the 22-year-old has previously been known for lapses of concentration in possession, both with Forest and Rangers, that have ultimately cost his side dear.
This appears to be an area of his game which has seen a marked improvement as Worrall looks to cut out the error’s and, perhaps, think more like a defender first and foremost. The Reds have conceded just nine times in the Championship so far this season (less than a goal a game), and much of that is down to the understanding between Worrall and Dawson – along with the side’s organised and functional structure as a whole.
While Worrall wasn’t overly pleased with being sent out on loan last season, telling NottinghamshireLive that he felt “hard done by”, the move appears to have benefitted him in the long term and fans have paid tribute to his recent displays.
So much has the defensive side of his game improved that supporters have told NottinghamshireLive that Worrall was now reminding them of a young Michael Dawson, high praise indeed as Dawson has previously led a respectable career at the top level.
Loan moves can be looked at in two ways from a players perspective. Maybe it can be seen as them being surplus to requirements at their parent club and almost feel like a negative for them mentally. On the flip side, a temporary move can re-ignite a player, improve him both personally and professionally and get his career on the right track again. In Worrall’s case, the latter appears to be true.