Nottingham Forest said goodbye to Michael Dawson yesterday after his contract came to an end and his departure makes keeping Joe Worrall imperative.
The 37-year-old has been with Forest for three years during his second stint. He made 32 appearances for the Reds, during a largely frustrating time.
Dawson is something of a cult hero at the City Ground. To fans of a certain age, he might even be considered a legend.
The uncompromising central defender has been heroic over the years defensively; boasting a wand of a right-foot.
It seems a sad day to think that Forest fans won’t see a famous Dawson long ball grace the hallowed City Ground turf ever again.
However, there is a man who might just be capable of stepping into the breach.
Akin to Dawson, Worrall is one of the Forest academy’s shining lights and his stock rose considerably last season.
The 24-year-old spent some time out injured during 2020/21 but was still named as the club’s Player of the Year.
Prior to a loan spell with Rangers, the jury was out on Worrall. Could he cut out those mistakes that were robbing his game of progression?
Since his time at Ibrox, he has come of age. During 2019/20 he was ever-present in the club’s Championship campaign, starring under Sabri Lamouchi.
In total he has played 137 times for the Reds and the club will be desperate to keep hold of him this summer.
The heir to Dawson’s Forest throne
Although he hasn’t featured much during the last year, Dawson’s influence among the players will have been massive.
As a result, Forest now need someone to step up and take on that mantle.
Worrall has long been touted as the man to do that and letting him leave now could prove catastrophic.
West Ham and Burnley are both keen on the player who some reports claim is valued at £15 million. In fairness, that might only see clubs land his right leg these days!
The Hucknall-born academy graduate is the closest thing Forest now have to Dawson.
He is similar in stature, reads the game well and with a bit of time could master the famous cross-field ball out wide.
Perhaps more crucially though the players already look up to him and he is tailor-made for the captaincy.
If Forest don’t win promotion in the coming years, losing Worrall will be a given.
For now, however, the club must stand firm and let the boyhood Reds supporter take his rightful place on Dawson’s throne.