Club News

Yacob focused and determined to prove worth

Midfielder is in his third season at The Hawthorns

CLAUDIO Yacob has vowed to show his true self after a summer of uncertainty about his Albion future.

The 27-year-old Argentinian was the subject of confirmed interest from overseas clubs during the summer months but the transfer deadline passed this week with Yacob still a Baggies man.

And a heart-to-heart with Alan Irvine has given the head coach hope that while there were no deadline-day signings by the club, he may have a “new recruit” in the classy midfielder in the No.5 shirt.

Irvine explained: “We had a very casual chat about it and he just said, ‘Look, I know I’ve been unsettled and my head has been unsure what’s happening, but now I’m completely focused and I can just get on with being the best I can be’.

“Don’t get me wrong, he’s been no problem on the training ground. He has been a perfect professional, but he’s had a bit of his mind wondering whether he’s going to be here or not, and that is unsettling.

“Claudio and his wife have also just had a baby over the summer so I’m guessing his he’s been going home from here and his wife’s been saying ‘What’s happening, what do I need to do about the baby and where are we going?’.

“The mental side of any top-level sport is incredibly important.”

Irvine believes another player at the centre of intense transfer speculation, defender Craig Dawson, is showing the benefits of settling down to his Albion career again and that Yacob can enjoy the same process.

“We saw it with Craig at the start of pre-season,” said Irvine. “He was unsettled and expecting to move away and it was only after he realised he wasn’t going anywhere that he was able to settle mentally.

“There is so much on the mental side that affects players’ performances and I think ‘Daws’ wasn’t what I knew he could be during a number of games in pre-season.

“Ever since he got his head around the fact he would be here and involved in the team and that we wanted him here and weren’t interested in him going anywhere else, he has been what I expected him to be.

“I’m sure that will be the case now with Claudio. He’s a really important player for us but with the circumstances he probably hasn’t showed that. This is now his opportunity to show it.

“He knows and I know that he’s not performed at the levels he is capable of and he’s not made it difficult for me to leave him out and really, with his ability, he should be giving me a selection problem.

“I would expect to see Claudio becoming more like his real self again.”