According to Paul Taylor of Nottinghamshire Live, Claudio Yacob’s lack of playing time under Martin O’Neill may be down to his playing style. The Nottingham Forest midfielder has made only three Championship appearances since January and has started just one game in the last three months too.
Yacob has stiff competition for place in the side from Adlene Guedioura, Ben Watson, Ryan Yates, Pele and Jack Colback which is why he’s low down the pecking order. Taylor believes the 31-year-old’s comparative lack of dynamism is why O’Neill won’t pick him.
He said: “The two central midfielders have to be dynamic; they have to cover a lot of ground and to be able to carry the ball forward, as well as being cover for the defence. They have to break up play when the opposition are in possession and be the link between defence and attack, when Forest are on the ball.
“Without giving him too much praise, this is Pele’s strength. But it is also something that (Jack) Colback and (Ryan) Yates are very good at. They don’t just sit in and defend, they actually do quite the opposite. They are both box-to-box players, perhaps more than Yacob is.”
Yacob isn’t a box-to-box player, he’s very much a limited ball-winner who will keep things simple in possession – evident from his lack of assists, four chances created and 92% of his passes being ‘short’. The Argentine international is most effective sitting in front of the back four, but O’Neill wants midfielders who can press the ball all over the pitch.
That’s not to say Yacob can’t be useful for the Nottingham Forest manager. He impressed alongside Colback earlier in the season and has averaged a tackle (29) or interception (8) every 26 minutes in the Championship. The midfielder has one more year on his deal at the City Ground and would still be a useful squad player.