Nottingham Forest played some free-flowing, attack-minded football last night and the forwards earned the majority of the plaudits. In Scott McKenna, however, the Reds had a player who quietly slipped under the radar.
The Scotland international is colossal. He’s a no-frills central defender who quite simply gets the job done on a consistent basis.
McKenna is an uncompromising central defender. He joined Forest in 2020 from Aberdeen in a deal that could potentially cost the Reds £6 million.
Since he checked in on Trentside you can probably count on one hand the number of mistakes McKenna has made. He is proving serious value for money and is arguably Forest’s best signing for years.
Last night, some statistics showcases his undoubted quality. McKenna lined up on the left of a three-man defence again. Tobias Figueiredo played through the middle and Joe Worrall took up the position on the right.
Steve Clarke has used McKenna in such a position for Scotland. Remarkably, the Tartan Army fan base don’t feel he’s overly comfortable in such a role, but Forest fans are seeing results to the contrary.
Last night, the 24-year-old won no fewer than nine aerial challenges against Barnsley. Worrall and Figueiredo won just six between them, highlighting McKenna’s brilliance.
The man with 22 caps for his country also made more passes than any other Forest player. He attempted 64 passes, with Worrall just behind him on 61. Brice Samba was third, showcasing that Steve Cooper wants his team to play out from the back.
McKenna integral to Forest fortunes
It’s fair to say that the Reds defender is vitally important. Last season, he did struggle with some injury problems, featuring 25 times in all competitions.
This time around, he’s managed to stay fit though. He has started all 10 of Forest’s games in the Championship and has barely put a foot out of place.
Cooper loves a three-man defence and McKenna is showing that he can link up well with Max Lowe. The defender assisted his former Aberdeen teammate for his first Forest goal on Saturday.
The Reds have made some poor decisions when it comes to recruitment in recent seasons. In McKenna, Forest have hit the jackpot and he could be a mainstay in the team for many years to come.