Nottingham Forest midfielder Cafu hasn’t always adhered himself to the club’s supporters.
He got off to a bad start without kicking a ball. Some fans weren’t happy that he arrived on loan as part of the deal that saw Tiago Silva head to Olympiacos.
The Portuguese maestro had proved popular in 2019/10 and some fans felt Cafu was a defensive alternative.
It’s fair to say that the 28-year-old isn’t Silva. He is, however, a very good player who typified the new-look Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
Cafu has been on the fringes of the first team this season. His cameo on Saturday was just the fifth time he’d been introduced during a Championship contest.
He wasn’t even included in the squad during the first 10 fixtures of Steve Cooper’s tenure as head coach.
Injuries and suspensions have earned him a reprieve though and above all else his application and attitude have really caught the eye.
On Saturday he got a proper run-out. He stepped off the bench with 23 minutes remaining and helped himself to a goal in the dying stages.
His strike from a Lyle Taylor pull back was his first in Forest colours and ensured a massive three points at Swansea.
Encouraging: Cafu could have part to play at Forest
A desire to win a shirt won’t have gone unnoticed in the eyes of Cooper.
He has challenged his players on a daily basis to compete for a place and Cafu has gone about his business in a professional manner.
It would have been easy for the former Legia Warsaw man to sulk and down tools after so long sat in the stands on a matchday.
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Instead, he’s waited patiently for a chance and then simply tried to prove a point when one has come his way.
More of the fringe players will now hope to emulate Cafu and prove themselves to the boss.
Cooper has done a lot of good work with the team on the pitch. Cafu, however, is perhaps the best example of what impact he’s having on the players behind the scenes.
Every player in the dressing room is desperate to be part of the new-look Nottingham Forest.