Between The Lines: Martin O’Neill should be worried after Gerrard’s criticism of Worrall

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard criticised on-loan Nottingham Forest centre-back Joe Worrall after his mistake contributed to the Scottish Premiership title hopefuls’ 2-1 defeat to Kilmarnock on Wednesday night, and his comments will surely seriously concern Martin O’Neill.

What did Gerrard say?

The Glasgow giants were looking to keep pace with arch-rivals Celtic in the race to win the league having beaten them in the Old Firm derby prior to the winter break, but despite seemingly being in control after Jermain Defoe’s 12th-minute opener, a moment to forget for Worrall arrived 10 minutes later to allow Eamonn Brophy to equalise.

The 22-year-old, whom Rangers signed on a season-long loan deal on August 31, as per BBC, dawdled on the ball before it was snatched off of him by Brophy, who finished coolly past Allan McGregor in the visitors’ goal.

Speaking post-match to BT Sport, via The Daily Record, Gerrard said: “We started the game extremely well, had control and everything looked really good and then we gift them a major gift and it completely changed the whole momentum of the game.

“We’ve got experience in Gareth McAuley and Joe Worrall is an Under-21 international – I’ve got trust in them that they’re going to recover from the setback.

“But I think the whole team was affected by the mistake. That moment has completely changed the game.”

Why should O’Neill be concerned?

Well, the new Reds boss may already be thinking about giving the Forest defender a chance to shine next season on his return from Ibrox, but he will want a centre-back that he can rely on who is also comfortable on the ball and has a strong mentality.

The fact that Gerrard kept coming back to Worrall’s mistake in his post-match quotes tells you all you need to know about how frustrated he was with the 22-year-old, as well as the fact that he seemingly didn’t show his manager that he recovered mentally from making the error.

While no player should be judged on one mistake it will still be a concern for O’Neill in the future, whichever division Forest find themselves in next season.

Martin O’Neill’s managerial return to Nottingham Forest didn’t go according to plan. Check out Matchday with Max’s gameday vlog in the video above…

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