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Joe Worrall blasts Rangers abuse as he delivers verdict on Ibrox spell

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Nottingham Forest centre-back Joe Worrall says he came back from his loan spell at Rangers a much-improved player and a better leader, but is resentful of the abuse he is still receiving from a minority of the Scottish Premiership side’s fans on social media as he spoke to ex-BBC radio host Robin Chipperfield.

The defender, who was 21 when he headed north of the border, arrived at Ibrox in August 2018 after being told by then-boss Aitor Karanka that he needed to improve before coming back to the East Midlands to try and establish himself as a first-team regular at the City Ground again.

At that point, Worrall had already made 52 Championship appearances despite his age and with that, came to Glasgow with reasonably high expectations on his shoulders.

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He plied his trade under Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, who later went on to win the Scottish Premiership with the Gers before his move to Aston Villa earlier this week, and made 32 competitive appearances in total before heading back to Forest at the end of that campaign.

Despite noticeably coming back to England as a better player, his error away at Kilmarnock in January 2019 partially tarnished his spell at Ibrox, being dispossessed and at fault for Killie’s equaliser in a game his former loan side went on to lose, being detrimental to their hopes of winning the top-tier title during that campaign.

Worrall has since revealed he still receives abuse from a section of Rangers fans on social media for that error, opening up to former BBC Radio Nottingham present Chipperfield as he said (via Nottinghamshire Live): “It’s part and parcel (social media abuse). Fans pay their money and if you underperform you deserve pelters for giving the ball away against Kilmarnock.

“However, three years later and still getting vile messages off Rangers fans, it’s unacceptable really. They’ve won the league and they’re hammering a 21-year-old who has done nothing but try his best.

“That’s enough about Rangers because I did really love my time up there but it’s a lingering cloud, the abuse I get for no apparent reason.

“I thought I did ok. Yes I made some mistakes but at the same time the reason I was at Rangers was because (former Forest boss Aitor) Karanka said I needed more experience.

“Maybe I ironed out some mistakes at Rangers and their fans will say ‘no, you play for Rangers and you have to be the best in the world’.

“I was 21 and trying to learn my trade, play under Gerrard, play in front of 50,000 at Ibrox and 60,000 at Parkhead.

“I 100 percent know I came back a better player and a better leader.”

The Verdict:

Constructive criticism of Worrall is fair and you can tell he’s the type of person that would be willing to take advice on board as a level-headed character. However, abuse is unacceptable and especially considering he had only just turned 22 at the time of his major error.

That’s still a reasonably young age for the footballer and that abuse could have been detrimental for his career.

Thankfully, he has thrived since his loan spell north of the border, but the fact he is still receiving pelters after two years of being away from the club is laughable and you can only hope those that have been guilty of this have watched his interview to clarify his stance on a few things during his time in Glasgow.

This learning experience has only made him a better player though, making his spell at Rangers worth it after playing a huge part in keeping Forest afloat in the Championship last term.

The East Midlands outfit’s 2020/21 attacking record was woeful and relegation-worthy, but the defence including Worrall stepped up well and he was even linked with a move to the Premier League side Southampton in the summer, showing how far he has come since returning from Scotland.


A 21-year-old Reading FC fan and writer who graduated from the University for the Creative Arts in the summer with a degree in Journalism and Media Production. Other topics written about include politics, mental health and education.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Joe Worrall blasts Rangers abuse as he delivers verdict on Ibrox spell

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