There was once a time at Nottingham Forest that you would ‘never beat Des Walker’, and Joe Worrall is looking to take on that mantle.

Another home-grown centre-half is not in the same talent bracket just yet.

Time, though, is on his side.

Following in Walker’s footsteps and emulating a Reds icon from days gone by is the ultimate ambition.

Worrall has trodden the same path into the first-team fold.

He also occupies the same position.

His game is markedly different, one based on power more than pace, but the nuts and bolts are the same.

His job, first and foremost, is to keep opponents out.

And a standout job he is doing of that in 2019-20.

There has been the odd blip, but that is to be expected from a 23-year-old who remains far from the finished article.

What you want to see from players of his age and experience is improvement.

Positive steps need to be taken in ongoing development.

Expertise

Original Images: Nottingham Forest/Graphic Design: Beth Davenport

Worrall is proving to be a quick learner.

Gone are many of the rough edges that could be found in his game when he first stepped into the senior fold on Trentside.

A loan spell at Rangers undoubtedly aided his cause.

It is very much a case of sink or swim when operating under an Old Firm spotlight.

Worrall has also benefitted from working with Michael Dawson back in more familiar territory.

Forest’s club captain was once the apprentice to Master Walker.

His role has been reversed in passing on golden nuggets of expertise to the next generation.

Worrall has flourished to the point that he no longer needs a wise, old head alongside him.

Tobias Figueiredo has become his partner in crime.

Said pair are proving to be the perfect match, with few rivals relishing a battle with two no-nonsense operators.

Worrall is also maintaining his record of seeing every minute of Championship football for Forest this season.

Attitude

 

Another 90 were added to his tally in the 1-0 victory over Cardiff.

Sabri Lamouchi told the Nottingham Post after that contest: “I liked the attitude and the commitment. Everyone was involved.

“We deserved this victory. We deserved to score more, it was just that last touch, maturity and quality sometimes.

“But it was three points and another clean-sheet, which is very positive.

“Probably with more quality and the right decisions at the right times, we could have scored one or two more and controlled the game more.

“It was so tough until the end, but I am so happy with the result and the performance. We keep going.”

Forest’s success was, once again, built from the back against the Bluebirds.

If you can keep things tight, then you always have a chance.

Worrall put his head and boot on anything that moved in South Wales – including a few opponents!

Ben Watson may have the armband back with Dawson on bench duty, but Worrall has emerged as an on-field leader.

He is a warrior, one with Garibaldi running through his veins.

If he is to stick around after penning a long-term contract, with interest from afar fended off, then it must only be a matter of time before the lieutenant becomes captain.

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