Nottingham Forest defender Joe Worrall has admitted that being sent out on loan last season was difficult to take, but is confident he will be able to force his way back into the side next season.
The 22-year-old spent last season on loan at Rangers and established himself as an important player, making 32 appearances in all competitions.
The centre-back was sent out on loan at the beginning of last season by Aitor Karanka, but returns to the City Ground with Martin O’Neill now in charge.
O’Neill bolstered his defensive options in the January transfer window, by signing Yohan Benalouane and Alexander Milosevic, but Worrall is prepared to fight for his place in the side next season and is confident that he will be able to force his way into his new manager’s plans.
“It was the same when I left. Mr Karanka sent me out on loan at a time when we had a lot of central defenders at the club,” said Worrall, as quoted by the Nottingham Post.
“I have come back and there are probably a couple more defenders now as well… but I have faith in my ability to be one of the two or one of the three in the side.”
Worrall admitted that being sent out on loan last season was difficult to take, given that he had already made over 50 appearances for the Reds, but he is determined to make an impact next season.
“I am hungrier than ever to succeed at this club. Being away from it for a year was one thing, if you are a kid and have been fighting to get into the team, but when you have played 50 odd games and had a taste of things already, getting sent out on loan was hard to take.”
Forest finished ninth in the Championship table last season, eight points outside the play-off places, but finished the campaign strongly, wining their final three matches.
I would be surprised if Worrall doesn’t play an important role for Forest next season. O’Neill wouldn’t have kept him at the club if he didn’t expect him to be involved in some way.
He did very well while on loan at Rangers last season and will be determined to prove that it was a mistake for Karanka to send him out on loan.
The best thing Worrall can do now is focus on working hard during pre-season training, in the hope that he is given a chance to make an impact next season.