Lee Clarke’s Forest blog: Worrall fits the bill for Reds

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Over the past fortnight or so I have been waxing lyrical about how badly the Nottingham Forest side needs the presence of the assured, composed and uncompromising figure of Jack Hobbs back in the first-team fold.

As much as I think Hobbs can still do a job for Forest, certainly if Matt Mills’ current form persists, the emergence of young Joe Worrall is a timely boost for the Reds.

Worrall has been thrust into first-team action on the back of a series of injuries and suspensions among the defensive ranks at the City Ground and based on his first two appearances, his days playing for the under-23s look consigned to the past.

Eastwood-born Worrall was superb during Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Queens Park Rangers and he was the shining light on what turned out to be yet another frustrating afternoon on Trentside.

Still only 19-years-old, the central defender has clearly taken an awful lot from his loan spell at Dagenham and Redbridge last season and hopefully he will be given an extended run in the Forest side for the remainder of the campaign.

If anything I would say he taught the experienced Mills a lesson in modern-day defending at the weekend. Whilst the former Bolton man gave us all sore necks with a frustrating strategy of booting the ball aimlessly forward at every given chance, Worrall showed him exactly how it should be done with an array of passing more associated with Rio Ferdinand, or in Forest terms, Michael Dawson.

Most Forest fans tend to get their rose-tinted spectacles on when a young player emerges from the youth team but I have no doubts at all that Worrall is the real deal. If anything, he offers something which Forest doesn’t currently have and that’s a ball-playing central defender.

Coming into a side at centre-back is especially hard, add to the mix that you are going into a team without a clean sheet since March and the task looks thankless, but the Forest academy graduate looks undeterred at the size of the hand he has been dealt.

I said that I wouldn’t keep filling these column inches with negative stuff, they can save for another day, and for now we should simply rejoice at the amount of good that Gary Brazil and his staff seem to be doing with the younger generation.

Their remit is to nurture and produce players capable of filling voids in the first-team and in Matty Cash, Ben Osborn, Jorge Grant and now Worrall, the club has academy prospects featuring heavily in first-team squads, which can only bode well for the future. Provided of course the club doesn’t persist on selling them!

Worrall was a breath of fresh air on Saturday and playing regular first-team football will only aid his progression even further.

Although this is proving a turbulent time for the club, the emergence of a talented bunch of youngsters is offering a glimmer of hope for the club’s long-suffering army of supporters and long may that aspect of the club continue.