Joe Worrall needs no added incentive to give his all for Nottingham Forest, which is just as well because he has a huge role to play this season.

Few could have predicted as much when he returned to Trentside over the summer.

While not out of mind in 2018-19, a home-grown star was very much out of sight.

In his absence, the Reds set about stockpiling centre-halves.

A revolving door saw loanee Molla Wague depart as Worrall re-entered the building, but there was more competition at the City Ground than the 22-year-old probably expected to find.

Michael Dawson’s arrival contributed in part to an academy graduate being allowed to head for Ibrox in 2018.

As did that of Michael Hefele.

Alexander Milosevic and Yohan Benalouane were handed permanent contracts in January, while Tobias Figueiredo was part of the furniture.

Where did Worrall’s face fit?

Front and centre, as it happens!

Prominent

Original Images: Nottingham Forest/Graphic Design: Beth Davenport

Sabri Lamouchi made the decision to hand Worrall a prominent role.

Consistency has not always been his thing, with there often a sense that performances needed to be watched through the fingers with hands planted on face.

That is no longer the case.

An erratic edge has been eradicated, with Worrall’s displays having removed the ‘un’ from predictable.

You now know what you are getting each and every time he steps over the white line.

And what he delivers is 100 per cent commitment to a cause which means so much to him.

There will always be a place for fans-turned-players, with that connection to those in the stands making them a special breed.

Worrall has those qualities in abundance, and is not short on talent either.

Master

 

He has, at times, been an immovable object this season.

The presence of Dawson alongside him has helped, but another untimely knock for the skipper has left the apprentice stepping into the shoes of the master.

They don’t appear too big if a performance at Blackburn is anything to go by.

As is often the case, Worrall threw himself – quite literally at times – into everything at Ewood Park.

His haul for the evening included nine clearances, two blocks and one interception.

Worrall has now knocked the ball out of harm’s way 56 times this season, put his body on the line 13 times and cut out a pass intended for someone else on 11 occasions.

He sits second across the entire Championship for clearances and blocks, but his overall game marks him out as very much the number one.

For a man who sat fourth or fifth on some City Ground depth charts over the summer, that is some going.

Worrall may have left for Glasgow a boy, but he has returned a man.

The main man!

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