Nottingham Forest drew with Manchester City at the City Ground on Saturday and the game saw a welcome return to form for Joe Worrall.
The Reds captain was back in the starting eleven against the champions. He’d found himself on the bench earlier this month when Forest defeated Leeds.
Despite being the club captain, it’s been a pretty indifferent season for Worrall. He’s found himself utilised as a backup option on certain occasions, losing his place on three different occasions.
Now, Steve Cooper will view things as a needs must. Scott McKenna and Willy Boly are both injured for months; leaving Felipe and Worrall as the only two central defensive options.
With that in mind, it was vital that Worrall stepped up his game at the weekend. That wasn’t going to be easy up against arguably the most dominant team in world football right now.
The 26-year-old is Forest to the core. He cares deeply about doing well for the football club and it will have hurt him to have not always been considered a primary option this season.
Against City, perhaps he went a long way to completely regaining the trust of Cooper. His performance, along with Felipe’s, was a joy to behold and proved the catalyst for a famous draw over the champions.
Worrall return to form is timely for Forest
Steve Cook saw an appeal for him to be reinstated into the club’s 25-man squad rejected on Friday. As a result, Felipe and Worrall are the only two central defenders in the Forest squad.
The defender has played 205 times for the Reds during his career. He made his debut against Reading in 2016 and has also spent time on loan with Dagenham and Rangers.
Worrall views Forest as his club. Making the step up to the Premier League will have been the proudest moment of his career but it’s fair to say his form hasn’t always been convincing.
On Saturday, however, he really sent a statement to Cooper and his critics. Worrall finished the game with 10 clearances to his name and although he made one error of judgement this was a vastly improved showing.
The challenge now is for Worrall to gain some consistency. If he does that, his days on the Forest bench will be consigned to the history books.