Claudio Yacob was an 'important' figure for Nottingham Forest, even when he

Aitor Karanka says Claudio Yacob is an ‘important’ figure for Nottingham Forest – whether he is playing or not.

The Argentine midfielder had to be patient for his opportunity, after arriving at the City Ground as a free agent back in September.

Yacob, 31, has now established himself in the first team squad and will be involved – either in the starting XI or on the bench – as the Reds face Preston this weekend.

But Karanka says the former West Brom player has always been a big influence at the club, from day one of his arrival.

“He is really important and was important even when he was not playing,” said Karanka, of Yacob, who has made three Championship starts and one sub appearance for the Reds.

“He has experience, he is a character in the dressing room, he is a leader – you can feel that he is an influence, even when he was not in the team.

Nottingham Forest boss Aitor Karanka on the touchline
(Image: Getty Images)

“Now it is easy to say how good he is, because people have seen him (play). But when he was not playing, he was still a real character on the training ground.

“He was always trying to push the players and to teach the younger players.

“I think he was a very good signing for the club and for the team.”

Yacob previously made 149 starts and 26 sub appearances for the Baggies in all competitions, during six years at the Hawthorns, in which he established himself as an important player for them in the Premier League.

He had previously built his reputation during six years playing with the Racing Club first team in his homeland, after coming through the youth system there.