Nottingham Forest defender Scott McKenna was in the spotlight during Friday night’s win over Sheffield United at the City Ground. The Reds centre-back lined up alongside Joe Worrall and Willy Boly in a three-man central defensive unit.
Forest won the game on Trentside 2-1. A goal from Taiwo Awoniyi and a late header by Chris Wood ensured that the Reds claimed their first win of the 2023/24 campaign.
McKenna was often included in the team last season when he was fit. He made 24 appearances for the team and showed improvement at the Premier League level each time he played.
Forest were rocked in pre-season when Moussa Niakhate dislocated his elbow. With Felipe already out injured, it meant that the Reds were extremely short in defence.
McKenna featured prominently in pre-season. His form in those games prompted Steve Cooper to stick with him for the opening two matches of the new campaign.
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On Friday it was an intriguing performance from Forest defender McKenna. Normally, he looks calm and composed but against Sheffield United, his game was riddled with some errors.
Still, the stats showed that he did the head-it and kick-it side of things very well. Who Scored shows that he won eight headers which proved the most of anyone on the pitch and also completed six clearances.
McKenna hands Forest head coach Cooper a serious conundrum
The man who has now made 102 appearances for Forest is as honest as the day is long. As a result, he will know that he needs to brush up in certain moments of games at this level.
There was one particular situation on Friday where McKenna and Worrall clash, allowing Benie Traore to go through on goal. Fortunately, Matt Turner made a smart stop.
Cooper has some thinking to do over McKenna. If Forest are going to persist with him and work hard to improve him they might be wise to offer him a new deal.
The Forest star is out of contract in the summer and they won’t want to lose him for free. If they are going to cash in, it’s likely going to be in this window when they can still claim a fee for him.
McKenna is clearly still doing his job in terms of headers and clearances. However, the other little bits are hampering the defender and that is currently giving Cooper a conundrum.