Michael Dawson has opened the door to a future return to Nottingham Forest in a coaching role after being released at the expiration of his current contract.
The 37-year-old centre-back was one of a number of players that the club confirmed had been released when they published their retained list earlier this month.
A product of the Reds’ academy system, Dawson returned to his boyhood club after 13 years away in 2018 but injuries have hampered him since and were a factor in why he did not play a single minute in 2020/21.
Speaking to The Athletic, the former England and Tottenham defender revealed that he is yet to decide whether to call time on his career but that he has been preparing for the end of his playing days.
He said: “I am still giving some thought to playing. I have not written off any possibility. I have enjoyed spending time with the family. I have been doing my A licence (for coaching) in recent weeks, so I have options. I am just waiting to see if the phone rings.
“I am really enjoying doing a bit of media work. But I still get that buzz out of being a player.”
Dawson also left the door open to a future return to the City Ground as a coach, with the club indicating previously such a role would be available to him.
He said: “Never say, ‘Never’!
“I will see what other opportunities come (to play). I do not need to rush into a decision that will impact me for the next 30 years — you are a long time retired and I love playing.
“I just love the game. That is a message I would always try to pass on to the younger lads. There is never any value in sulking. Things will not always go your way as a footballer. Sometimes you have to accept a manager’s decision, even if you do not like it.”
Hughton is not short of centre-back options at the moment, with Joe Worrall, Scott McKenna, Tobias Figueiredo, and Loïc Mbe Soh all in the squad.
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Forest fans will likely love to hear that Dawson is open to returning to the City Ground in a coaching role in the future, though it seems he is keen to assess whether he can continue his career as a player first.
Clearly, he loves the club and that passion is just the sort of thing that you want in a coach – as long as he has the other necessary qualities.
The 37-year-old is a popular figure among the Reds fanbase and though he’s only featured 32 times in his second spell at the club, you get the impression he’s a fantastic presence in the dressing room.
In that sense, you feel his return to the club in 2018 has been a success even if he didn’t have as much influence on the pitch as he would have liked.