Martin O’Neill admitted Claudio Yacob has been disappointed at the lack of playing time at Nottingham Forest but has shown an excellent attitude on the training ground and could return to the first-team soon. The 31-year-old has made 13 appearances since joining Forest on a free transfer in September, making his debut in November.
Yacob was a regular alongside Jack Colback in midfield and turned in a number of impressive performances before O’Neill replaced Aitor Karanka, but the Argentine international can’t get game time for love nor money now. His last appearance for the Reds was against West Bromwich Albion on February 12 – 12 minutes from the bench. He’s made the matchday squad only twice since.
Despite this, O’Neill only had good things to say about Yacob, telling Nottinghamshire Live: “I have great admiration for Claudio as a footballer and as a person. I have had endless chats with him and I want him to be a coach one day. He is teaching me a little bit of Spanish and I have taught him some very bad English. He is a good character and he is good around the place.
“I had not involved him in recent weeks, but his training continues to be terrific. He has been disappointed not to be in the squad, which is a natural feeling and one he feels deeply. He may well be involved on Saturdays with us, because his attitude and determination are excellent. All the things he shows on the training ground are why he has made it as a footballer.”
The Forest manager also tipped Yacob for a career in management, citing the midfielder’s inquisitive nature and good communication as two reasons why he might succeed as a coach. The 31-year-old has just shy of 18 months left on his deal, but his future at the City Ground is unknown.
He’s still an effective player so retirement shouldn’t be on the cards just yet, but he has the backing of his boss to consider a non-playing role in football. O’Neill added: “Who knows for certain who can manage these days? All the people I thought might have been good turned out to be useless and vice-versa.
“But he thinks a lot about the game and he is a very, very good communicator. He has a lot of good attributes. He might have a better life for himself and if he has a better life, go and do that. But if it is something he wants to pursue…”