This article is part of Football League World’s ‘Comment’ series, this content strand is where the author of the article issues their personal opinion on the topic at hand…
Nottingham Forest are currently unbeaten in their last seven matches in all competitions and will be looking to continue their momentum against top-of-the-table Swansea City at the weekend.
The Reds have made a positive start to their first season under new head coach Sabri Lamouchi and one player who has been key to their success so far is defender Joe Worrall.
The 22-year-old returned to his hometown club this summer after spending last season on loan at Rangers and has been able to make a big impact.
The centre-back has started all eight of Forest’s matches so far this season and has been handed the captain’s armband for both of the Carabao Cup games against Fleetwood Town and arch-rivals Derby County.
His performances so far this season have been outstanding. He is a big presence on the pitch, a real leader and has formed a good partnership with Michael Dawson at centre-back.
He is strong, good in the air and his committed performances have seen him become a firm fans’ favourite at the City Ground.
Worrall admitted recently that he still feels a little bit hard done by at being sent out on loan by Aitor Karanka at the beginning of last season.
Given that he had already made 56 appearances for Forest – including 31 in the Championship – by the time he was sent out on loan, Karanka’s decision seemed a little questionable at the time, but it has undoubtedly made Worrall a better player.
The defender made a big impact at Rangers last season – scoring one goal in 32 appearances in all competitions – and his performances for Forest so far this season have been very impressive.
To be fair to Worrall, being sent out on loan must have been difficult for him to take given the circumstances, but he has shown great hunger and desire to force his way back into the team under Lamouchi this season, and he deserves a lot of credit for that.
It would have been far easier for him to just accept his fate, but he was able to put the work in on the training pitch to convince his new manager to give him a chance – a decision that has really paid off for Forest so far.
It seemed like a questionable decision for Karanka to send Worrall out on loan to Rangers last season, but there is no doubt that it has made him a better player and if he continues to perform as he has been, it could turn out to be a masterstroke.