Nottingham Forest already have a Worrall replacement right in front of them

Since promotion back to the Premier League in 2022, Nottingham Forest have used nine different players at centre-back with the City Ground outfit still yet to find a settled partnership.

The likes of Steve Cook, Scott McKenna and Guilian Biancone have all featured at the heart of the Reds’ defence, but have all departed in recent months as the club look to cut down the large playing squad at the City Ground.

Murillo, who joined Forest from Corinthians for £15m last summer, has been ever-present at the back for the Reds since his Premier League debut against Brentford back in October last year. The 21-year-old Brazilian has started 18 league games in a row but has often featured alongside a different centre-back partner in most of his outings for the club.

Before the ongoing African Cup of Nations, Murillo was partnered by either Moussa Niakhate or Willy Boly – with the latter missing for the last six weeks due to the tournament and a wrongful dismissal against Bournemouth.

Joe Worrall’s move to Besiktas

Another player who has featured for the Reds at the back since promotion is academy graduate Joe Worrall. Since his professional debut for Forest back in 2016, the 27-year-old has gone on to make 227 appearances for his boyhood club.

After featuring 30 times in the Premier League for Forest last season, Worrall fell down the pecking order under former boss Steve Cooper and has only featured twice under new head coach Nuno Espírito Santo.

Joe Worrall-Nottingham Forest

The defender was linked with a move away from the City Ground during the January window – with Leeds United and Sheffield United both interested in taking the former Rangers loanee on loan for the remainder of the campaign.

Worrall remained at the City Ground upon the closure of the British window on February 1st but secured a move-away to join Turkish side Besiktas on a deal until the end of the season, with an option to make the move permanent in the summer.

The 27-year-old’s departure coupled with Niakhate and Boly’s absence due to AFCON has given one member of the Forest playing squad a valuable opportunity to cement his place as a regular starter under Nuno.

Nottingham Forest’s readymade Worrall replacement

In recent weeks, Andrew Omobamidele has been handed a run of games at centre-back alongside the ever-present Murillo. Despite joining from Norwich City for £11m on deadline day in the summer, the 21-year-old Irishman was overlooked by Cooper and only made his debut in the FA Cup replay against Blackpool on January 17th.

Following his debut, the former Norwich man had played every minute for Nuno – prior to dropping to the bench in the defeat to Newcastle United – proving himself to be a more than capable centre-back partner for Murillo.

When comparing Omobamidele to Worrall this season, it is clear that the 21-year-old is much more comfortable on the ball – a characteristic Nuno wants in his centre-back when building from the back.


Worrall only averages 40 passes completed per 90 this season, whilst the Irishman Omobamidele averages 22 more with his tally of 62 – as per FBref. However, it’s not just passes completed that the Reds’ new defender trumps Worrall in, with Omobamidele also completing 8% more of the passes he’s attempted this campaign.

Omobamidele likes to drive forward with the ball – a lot more than Worrall, with the 21-year-old completing 1.1 progressive carries per match in comparison to Worrall’s lowly average of just 0.1 per 90.

In a time when young ball-playing centre-backs are hard to come by, the club have conducted brilliant business in the market with Omobamidele and Murillo having the potential to be the Reds’ long-term solution at the back.

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