Nottingham Forest legend Colin Barrett has exclusively told Seat Pitch that Joe Worrall is clearly reaping the rewards of his loan spell at Rangers.
The Reds defender has played in every Championship game this season having returned to the club from a season-long stint at Ibrox during the summer.
He was a key member of Steven Gerrard’s team last season. He played 32 games and gained invaluable experience playing in Old Firm matches and in the Europa League.
Forest are Worrall’s boyhood team, however, and he has quickly become a key component of Sabri Lamouchi’s plans.
Barrett has noticed a significant improvement in the 22-year-old and was full of praise for the youngster.
He told Seat Pitch: “You look at Worrall and he’s a big lad. When balls have come into the box he heads or blocks absolutely everything.
“He’s played a good few games at Rangers and he now appears to be up to scratch with the standard required to play regularly in the Championship.
“Defenders first and foremost need to be able to defend and I think Worrall is now more experienced when it comes to being able to do that.”
Despite his tender years, the Hucknall-born powerhouse is already on 69 appearances for the Reds.
As with any young player coming through the ranks, it took Worrall some time to get up to the required standard in the Championship.
Substance over style
One thing that perhaps hampered the defender was Mark Warburton. He was hell-bent on his teams playing out from the back and as a young defender, it was perhaps naive of the former Forest boss to ask his team to play in such a style.
Barrett who famously won the European Cup with Forest has been delighted with Worrall’s progression, however.
He continued: “He is now looking the part and he learnt that he is a defender and his ultimate remit is to defend.
“There’s nothing wrong with passing it out – I think Worrall and Dawson have both done that pretty well this season. Ultimately though, there is a time and a place to try and pass it from the back.”
Barrett played left-back in Brian Clough’s famous team of old and knows all about playing as part of a successful back four.
He believes the resolution of Lamouchi’s team has been a real standout during the season so far.
Barrett added: “You look at the back four and there are some big lads in there now. They are proper defenders and they’ve been excellent in getting the basics right.
“It sounds like a really old cliche, but if you don’t concede goals you won’t lose football matches.”
Forest have kept six clean sheets in all competitions this season and Worrall will hope to help the Reds towards more as the season gets into the business stages during the next few months.