Nottingham Forest’s Joe Worrall on how regular Championship football boosted England hopes

Joe Worrall.
Joe Worrall.

Nottingham Forest defender Joe Worrall capped off an impressive maiden campaign in the senior team at Forest by being chosen to captain the England U20 side that secured a 1-0 win over Angola yesterday afternoon.

The central defender only played his first Championship game in November of last year but went on to perform admirably for the remainder of the campaign in the first-team ranks at the City Ground.

Worrall was about to go to Portugal on a golfing holiday last week when he received a call from Forest boss Mark Warburton who informed him that the FA had been in touch and he had been selected for the England youth setup, following an injury to Charlton Athletic youngster Ezri Konsa who was forced to withdraw.

England u18 boss Neil Dewsnip is the man tasked with trying to win the Toulon Tournament for the second time in succession and Worrall was naturally delighted when he got the nod to skipper the side.

He said: “Neil, our coach, dragged me during training at St George’s Park one day last week and told me that he wanted me to be the captain of the side and lead some of the younger players.

“I was very honoured to be asked and only too happy to grab the chance straight away”

Worrall looks set to keep his place in the team for England’s next fixture against Cuba on Thursday and he believes that playing regularly in the Championship has put him in good shape for the international picture.

The 20-year-old said: “International football is different because you are playing against younger players.

“Because I have been playing men’s football for the last two seasons I am used to playing against bigger, more experienced players.

“On the international stage they are usually more technical, gifted if you like. That’s not to say we don’t come up against those in the Championship but it is a rarity when such young players feature in our league.”

Captaincy is something which comes naturally to the extremely grounded and focused Worrall, who is hoping to pick up more experience with the armband throughout the remainder of the tournament.

He continued: “Neil has told me that he wants me to be the captain throughout the campaign and hopefully we can be frontrunners to win the tournament.

“We have more than enough talent in the squad and a lot of the lads have been clearing up trophies in their respective age groups – particularly the Chelsea lads.”

Hucknall-born Worrall speaks affectionately about Forest and he hopes that he can help his boyhood club climb the Championship table next season.

Speaking on the Reds’ ambitions for 2017/18, he said: “We hope to go into next season with a bit of momentum following the latter stages of the campaign that has just finished.

“It’s a blank canvas for a lot of teams and nobody wants to put too much pressure on so we will wait and see what happens, but we are certainly hopeful of a revival in fortunes for the club next season.”