Many will have woken up this morning and read Kenny Burns’ comments on Joe Worrall, providing some interesting talking points.
Burns is a Nottingham Forest great, having played for the club during a four-year spell between 1977 and 1981. Worrall, for those who maybe don’t know, is on loan from Forest until the end of the season.
Recently, the young English youth captain has been partnering Connor Goldson at the back for Gers. This is despite the impressive early-season form of Nikola Katic, who’s subsequently been dropped in recent times. Sections of the supporters are still scratching their heads as to why Katic isn’t playing, but Burns certainly isn’t.
A self-proclaimed Rangers supporter, Burns believes Worrall will stroll it up here. So far, that’s yet to be the case, but one particular interesting comment today regarded where the Englishman is best suited.
Speaking in this morning’s Daily Record, Burns had this to say about the young prodigy:
“Joe will get better and better. He came through the Nottingham Forest academy and he was captain of the first team. I’m told he stood up in the dressing room and said ‘You, you and you never tried a leg today’ after they lost.
“He’s not frightened of telling people when they aren’t doing enough and in some of the Rangers games I watched I wasn’t impressed with their central defenders.
“He will come on in leaps and bounds playing under Gerrard but I’d prefer Joe to play on the right of the two. That’s where he is strongest.”
That’s just a taste of the in-depth detail which Burns went to in talking about Worrall. It raises big questions about whether he’s best suited to the position he’s actually been playing in over the last few weeks.
Since Steven Gerrard gave him his opportunity, Worrall has been placed at the left of a central defensive two. He’s partnered both Nikola Katic and Goldson, and has had to get suited to that role. Make no mistake, playing on the right of a two compared to the left is two entirely different positions.
Worrall’s distribution from the back has been questionable, whilst at times he looks like he doesn’t have the confidence to win certain 50/50s. Could this be down to where he’s being played? Maybe to an extent, but you would still expect Worrall to be capable of so much more.
Interestingly, however, Burns’ claims that he would stroll it up here smacks of a little arrogance. He certainly isn’t strolling anything, and still has plenty of convincing to do to the Rangers supporters.
Meanwhile, Burns’ criticism of Rangers’ other centre-backs are out of order. If it wasn’t for both Katic and Goldson, Rangers wouldn’t be in the Europa League. Worrall wouldn’t be getting a chance on the European stage if it wasn’t for the original pairing.
It makes you question how often Burns has been watching Rangers. If the manager wants to play Worrall, then that’s fair enough. Is he playing him slightly out of position? Possibly. But the Gers defenders don’t deserve any form of stick for what’s been an impressive start to the season from the back-line.