This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict‘ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Nottingham Forest have made an underwhelming start to the 2020/21 Championship season.
The Reds’ shaky start ultimately led to the sacking of Frenchman Sabri Lamouchi who was swiftly replaced by experienced head Chris Hughton.
Hughton has made an unbeaten start to life as Forest manager, and one of the key tweaks to the Reds XI that he has made has been starting Tobias Figueiredo and Scott McKenna as the centre-back pairing consistently in every game he’s managed.
One dilemma that the former Newcastle boss is going to face is when Joe Worrall returns to fitness, with the 23-year-old one of Forest’s standout stars last season in the heart of defence.
Worrall has hinted that a return to fitness isn’t long away, so it begs the question, when Joe Worrall returns to fitness, does he go straight back into that Nottingham Forest backline?
The team here at FLW discuss….
If it isn’t broken then why fix it?
There’s no doubt that Joe Worrall was an important player for Forest last season and he is definitely one of their best defenders when he’s at his best.
For me, though, Forest have been largely solid in defence since Chris Hughton came in, and Scott McKenna has forged a solid understanding alongside Tobias Figueiredo in the heart of the backline.
The Reds are yet to concede a goal from open play, which is largely down to McKenna’s presence and his ability to organise the backline and command the area, so at this moment in time, it would be very harsh for Worrall to come in and to drop Figueiredo or McKenna.
Of course, it’s a long season and there are still so many games left to play, so Worrall will obviously be needed at some point. They shouldn’t rush to put him back in, though.
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It purely depends on how the others are playing when he is actually available.
Forest are well-stocked for options at centre-back and it has to be the case that whoever has the shirt has to lose it. So, whilst Worrall is a good player at this level, he’s not someone who has to play every game no matter what.
The defence has looked reasonably solid since Chris Hughton arrived and Scott McKenna is a very smart signing and he has the bonus of being left-footed which brings a balance to the back four, so he can expect to start.
The other position will be up for grabs and Worrall has the ability to make it his own but if Tobias Figueiredo, or even Loic Mbe Soh do well, the former Rangers man will have to be patient and wait for his opportunity to arrive.
Worrall was one of Forest’s key men last season, both for his performances and the leadership he provided at the centre of their defense.
It was no surprise to see Premier League clubs keen on the defender over the summer and it was a boost that the Reds held onto him.
They haven’t looked as solid this term and once Worrall is fit, he should be straight back into their side.
His return could be just what they need to kick-start their season.