OPINION: Why Joe Worrall and Eric Lichaj deserve to regain starting spots

If one main point can be taken from the 2-0 loss at Millwall on Good Friday is that the Nottingham Forest defence still isn't perfect.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 4th April 2018, 5:34 pm
Updated Wednesday, 4th April 2018, 5:36 pm
Fraizer Campbell and Joe Worrall challenge for the ball.
Fraizer Campbell and Joe Worrall challenge for the ball.

The newly reformed back four have received their fair share of praise over the March league fixtures, before the most recent international break, but reality set in last week as they couldn’t keep out the opposition.

Now, it is time for Joe Worrall and Eric Lichaj to be chucked back into fold.

Both Worrall and Lichaj lost their starting spots two months ago to inform Tobias Figuerido and Tendayi Darikwa, respectfully, and even though it would be harsh for them to take them spots back, their talents can be used elsewhere.

Lichaj, who has recently returned from international duty with the United States, can easily be played in left back rather than his natural position on the right and Worrall can be played alongside Figuerido to form a new centre back pairing.

Ben Osborn has been shifted to the left back position during the recent games but as a natural midfielder it is pretty clear to most that his talent is being wasted there. The 23-year-old is often caught out of position by the opposition’s attackers and can quickly be turned inside out by them but the entire blame cannot be put on his shoulders as he isn’t a defender.

Lichaj is experienced in playing along the left side and if his player of the season award for last year’s campaign is anything to convince you he is a highly rated defender anyhow.

After losing his starting right back spot at the start of the season to Darikwa the American fought back and cemented it as his own over the winter period.

Then after an impressive performance in the FA Cup against the current holders Arsenal, Lichaj managed to win himself a new contract. But after receiving a straight red card against Burton Albion in February he hasn’t been able to work himself back into the team.

Lichaj often unfairly receives negative comments from fans but as most others can see he is one of the best defenders on the Forest squad roster and is deserving of a chance to be welcomed back into the side and play a part in sweeping up the goals that the team are often conceding.

Manager Aitor Karanka has opted for the centre back partnership of Danny Fox and Figuerido over the past several Championship fixtures and even though the pair managed to pull off an impressive three straight clean sheets but they still aren’t the best duo the team can provide and aren’t the stable choice moving forward.

Despite being a natural left back Fox has proven that he is much more useful and better in centre back position, but the team are still leaking needless goals and even though the shadow of potential relegation has shifted away Forest still want to avoid finishing the season in the bottom end of the table.

And with Figuerido proving to be the better defender out of the two it is time Karanka brings back Worrall.

The academy graduate had become a regular face in the Forest side during the first half of the season but similar to Lichaj he has slowly slipped to the Reds bench and hasn’t shown real signs of being given an opportunity to move off it.

The England youth international has sometimes been given a brief substitute appearance on the field in the closing few minutes of a game but is yet been able to prove why he is worthy of a full-time spot.

Worrall has also caught the eye of Premier League suitors and has been linked several times with a big move away so that is further proof he is good enough for Forest. And the youngster also has health and time on his side.

Fox has spent many months of his Forest career in the treatment room with his injuries and with him now being in his 30s, the potential of him being able to play in the competitive Championship in the future is much lower.

Worrall also possess the bossy defender traits that the team desperately needs. His voice beckons over the back four and despite being much younger than the others alongside him he isn’t afraid to let them know when they’ve put a foot wrong.