Michael Dawson has been hailed as the leader Nottingham Forest are crying out for, but who does he look to for assistance in that role?

If the man donning the armband is the general, then who are his lieutenants?

Are there any?

And if so, are there enough of them?

There are a few candidates who will feel as though they are capable of dragging others along with them.

Joe Worrall, at just 22 years of age, boasts the commitment and personality to inspire.

Ben Watson, given his vast experience, should be capable of leading by example.

Lewis Grabban is another seasoned performer, while the likes of Costel Pantilimon and Daryl Murphy remain part of the squad for now.

Alfa Semedo has, a forgettable outing at Charlton aside, been a lively presence in the middle of the park.


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Carl Jenkinson has an England cap to his name, while centre-half back-ups Alexander Milosevic and Yohan Benaloune are hardly shy and retiring types.

There is, however, a sense when looking through that list that inspiration is in short supply.

Joe Lolley, Joao Carvalho, Tiago Silva et al boast that touch of magic, but they are no leaders of men.

They inspire through moments of brilliance, rather than their mannerisms and words.

Reds legend Garry Birtles has said in the Nottingham Post: “For too long, Forest have not had enough leaders, not enough men wanting to stand up and be counted.

“When things aren’t going well and they can’t every week, you need players to get stuck in, to battle and fight for the cause, then just maybe, you get your rewards.”

Forest displayed those battling qualities at The Valley, with Dawson very much front and centre.

Birtles added on the talismanic skipper: “Football’s a bigger bubble than it’s ever been, so people like him are great for youngsters to look up to.

“The only regret, if you can call it that, is that he’s 35 and not a couple of years younger – but we can’t have it all, can we?”


Dawson is very much in the latter stages of his career.

He still has plenty to offer in the present, but will not be around forever.

That makes it imperative that lessons are either passed on to those around him or more leadership is unearthed in the transfer market.

For now, Dawson will do just fine.

He has belied his advancing years and recent injury struggles during the opening exchanges in 2019-20.

A home-grown talent cannot be expected to carry the load by himself though at the City Ground.

Others need to step up.

The potential is there for plenty to join Dawson’s army, but will that be unlocked and strength in numbers be established?

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