This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
It’s like we’re playing a big game of Cluedo.
Everyone is trying to work out exactly what is going wrong at Nottingham Forest as they came crashing down to earth from their ten-game unbeaten run to now losing two matches in a row.
Former Forest man Kenny Burns has had his say on the matter and he thinks that it’s down to the absence of one man.
Speaking to Nottinghamshire Live, Burns believes that it’s in fact captain Michael Dawson that the cub have been missing the most, and that his partnership with Joe Worrall was one of the bedrocks of the club’s unbeaten run:
“Michael Dawson has been a big miss for Nottingham Forest. If he does come back from injury this week, it will be a huge boost for us. Dawson and Joe Worrall had been really good together as a partnership.
“They’d developed a strong relationship in the centre of the defence. I think we’d looked more solid when those two were playing together – and keeping more clean-sheets is something we need to do. I think we’ve missed Dawson’s leadership as well. He’s a proper captain.”
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There have been many factors that you can blame on Nottingham Forest’s recent slump, and the injuries that have hit the squad are certainly one of them.
But it’s the point about captaincy that raises a bit of a concern.
If they really are missing his captaincy and leadership skills on the pitch, isn’t that a little bit of an indictment on the rest of the players in the squad?
Does it suggest there is nobody there who is up to marshalling the troops? Isn’t one of the clichés in football that you want ‘eleven captains on the pitch’?
Indeed Burns himself said last month that he saw Dawson’s centre-back partner Worrall as a future captain of the club, but if he hasn’t managed to step up in the central defender’s absence, what sort of standard is he setting if he wants to get the job on a permanent basis in the future?
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So whilst the armband might be with 34-year-old Ben Watson when Dawson is missing, perhaps it’s time Worrall stepped forward and showed us what he’s made of because it’s not just the results that are on the line, but also his candidacy for the job next season.