Joe Worrall insists speculation surrounding his future didn’t affect him during the summer, admitting that his head “was never away” from Nottingham Forest.
Worrall was an integral player for Forest under Chris Hughton last season, helping the Reds boast the fifth best defensive record in the division behind Watford, Norwich, Swansea and Brentford despite a disappointing finish in the league table.
The 24-year-old encountered problems with injury, but recovered to make 31 appearances in the Championship and pick up the Supporters Club Player of the Season award at the end of the campaign.
Over the course of the summer, Worrall was linked with a number of Premier League sides, with the likes of Southampton, Brentford and West Ham all registering an interest in the homegrown defender.
But Forest managed to keep hold of the centre-half, who has made 139 appearances for the Reds since coming through the ranks and breaking into the first-team.
Whilst his future looked uncertain from the outside looking in, however, Worrall insists his head was only focused on one thing – his boyhood club.
“There’s always stuff flying about, about players going here, there and everywhere,” he told yesterday’s press conference.
“But I’m very, very dedicated. My alarm goes off at 8 o’clock every morning, I have my breakfast and head to the Nigel Doughty Academy and try and improve my game.
“I get in the gym, I get on the training ground and focus towards playing for Nottingham Forest. That is all I’ve done for the last four seasons, bar the season I was away from the club.
“I don’t really let all that sort of stuff affect me. I think that’s very clear to everybody. My head was never away from Forest, ever.
“It was very flattering, and you always see stuff. No matter how well you play, you always get linked with different clubs.
“But for me, I was always set on playing for Forest.”
Worrall will be hoping to steer Forest towards their first win of the campaign this evening, as the Reds take on Middlesbrough at the City Ground in what seems a must-win game for Hughton.
Forest have yielded only one point from their opening six games, and Sunday’s defeat to Cardiff City was their fifth of the season.