09:04 18th April 2013
But Clarke confident midfielder can fulfil international ambitions
STEVE Clarke has tipped Claudio Yacob for a recall to the Argentina squad if he can rediscover his Barclays Premier League ‘rhythm’.
The Baggies boss has praised the summer Bosman signing, who earned the second of his two international caps in April 2011, for the way he has adapted quickly during a successful first season in English football.
But he believes the central midfielder has not been quite able to match the exceptional form he showed during the first half of the campaign since an enforced mid-season spell on the sidelines due to hamstring and shoulder injuries.
“Certainly in the first half of the season his performances were top,” said Clarke.
“Since he picked up a couple of injuries he has been a little bit less effective in the second half of the season, it’s fair to say.
“It’s been a long, tough season in his first season in the Premier League.
"It’s a difficult season and the way he started was incredible. That showed the quality of the player.
“But since he picked up a couple of injuries and knocks, a little bit like the team in the second half of the season, I just don’t think he’s ever quite found his rhythm.
“I don’t think the team has ever quite found its rhythm in the second half of the season, but we’re hoping the team can find that in the last six games and I’m sure Claudio is hoping he can pick up his rhythm as well and finish the season well."
He added: “If Argentina are looking for a No.5 who can break up play and do a great job for the team then Claudio is definitely one of the candidates.
“It’s great that Claudio talks about it because it shows you his ambition.
“If you play football you’ve got to have ambition and his ambition is to play for his country again, which is a fantastic ambition.
“It’s a difficult job to get into the Argentina side but he can do it if he produces performances consistently.”