Joe Worrall is earning plenty of plaudits back at Nottingham Forest, with the benefits of a loan spell at Rangers clear for all to see.

A season spent working under Steven Gerrard has undoubtedly aided the defender’s cause.

Experiences away from the City Ground have made him a better player.

And a more rounded individual.

Worrall left his comfort zone on Trentside when it would have been simple to stay put.

Regular game time may not have come his way, but a squad role could have been found.

Rather than take the easy option, he jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Life as a home-grown academy graduate in Nottingham is one thing, an Old Firm spotlight quite another.

A spell in Glasgow was not all sweetness and light for Worrall.

Questions were asked of him at various stages.

He passed the test, though, and returned to England over the summer in confident mood.

Declaration

Original Images: Nottingham Forest/Graphic Design: Beth Davenport

Upon walking back through the gates in NG2, the 22-year-old was making bold declarations of wanting to earn a new contract.

His current one is due to run until 2022.

Forest are in his blood.

A Hucknall native told the club’s official website ahead of his recent outing as captain in a Carabao Cup derby date: “It is something that I have grown up with here. My family are all big Forest fans and we don’t like Derby.”

He really is one of our own.

And those within youth and senior set-ups have helped to bring him to this point.

Those up at Ibrox played a minor role.

Reds legend Garry Birtles has said in the Nottingham Post: “I dare say spending the season up in Glasgow with Rangers, working with Steven Gerrard would have been a terrific learning curve, and he’s certainly come back a better player.

“Somebody like Gerrard is great to learn from, he’s played at the highest level so if you can’t take things from a man with his knowledge then you don’t deserve to be playing the game.

“It does look like Worrall has taken plenty from his spell with Gerrard at Ibrox and it looks to be that he’s brought plenty back down south which he’s implementing into the team at the moment.”

Positive steps have definitely been taken in the right direction.

Worrall, though, deserves much of the credit for having listened to those around him – in Glasgow and Nottingham.

He appears to have identified weaknesses in his game and worked hard on them.

Reliable

WAYNE ROONEY TO EVERTON IS A JOKE.

Over the early weeks of 2019-20 he has looked considerably more assured than at any stage of his first-team career to this point.

Gone are the lapses in concentration and over-eagerness.

Worrall is playing the game as he sees it, which is a mark of all good centre-halves.

There is no need to be the star of the show, just a reliable part of the supporting cast.

Sabri Lamouchi, Michael Dawson et al are allowing Worrall to play that role to the best of his ability.

The Reds boss has said in the Post: “For me, Joe has been a good surprise

“He understood exactly what I want from him – what I want and what I don’t want. Especially, a defender must be a defensive player first; play simple, be aggressive, be focused.”

Worrall is ticking all of those boxes.

Lamouchi feels there is still room for improvement, and the player himself would probably admit as much.

He is not going to be the finished article at this stage.

Rapid progress is being made, though, and Forest deserve to take as much credit for their careful polishing of a rough diamond as Gerrard and Co claimed over the course of just one campaign.

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