BEN Foster says Albion’s latest Bosman ‘gem’ Claudio Yacob is proving something of a ‘silent assassin’ in the Barclays Premier League.
The Baggies goalkeeper admits the Argentina international was an unknown quantity to him when he arrived at The Hawthorns from Primera Division outfit Racing Club de Avellaneda in the summer.
But he has hailed the impact Yacob has already made in sixth-placed Albion’s midfield and praised him for the quiet, efficient and no-nonsense approach he has shown in making a quick transition to English football.
“He's amazing,” said Foster.
“I'd never heard of the bloke. I'm not disrespecting him but I didn't know anything about him.
“I'm not the biggest football fan in the world anyway - but he's not someone I'd come across.
“He came into training on the first day and he's exactly like he is now.
“He doesn't say a word, he comes in and just opens up and smashes everyone in training.
“He's a little live wire.
“He's that guy in front of you that, if the opposition break on us and we look like we might be a bit exposed, gets the tackles or blocks in.
“It's great when you have someone like that - it's dependability really.
“He's Mr Reliable.
“You know you can count on him at any given time - that's how he started the season and how he's continued.”
And the former Manchester United keeper has been particularly impressed with the way Yacob has forged an impressive partnership with Youssouf Mulumbu in the Baggies' midfield engine room.
“Him and Youssouf have got that central midfield nailed down,” Foster added.
“They are the same. They are so calm and know how to pick passes out.
“Youssouf will do his usual, stick his big backside out so everyone has to roll around him.
"It's great to watch - both are so calm under pressure - and Claudio's passing is brilliant.
“He's fantastic to have and he's got a bit of South American temperament about him - he's certainly not afraid to put his boot in.
“He's full-blooded, even in training.
“He's a huge addition to the team and it's amazing to get someone like him, but he's just one of a few gems we've found - people like McAuley, a free transfer from Ipswich, Billy Jones, another free transfer, they are finding these players from somewhere.”