Eyebrows were raised when Nottingham Forest signed Steve Cook in January on a free transfer.

Plenty of supporters thought a 30-year-old defender didn’t really fit with the direction that Forest are looking to go in.

Cook arrived after a decade of playing at Bournemouth where he made 168 appearances for the club in the Premier League.

The defender has slotted in seamlessly though and already his critics have been firmly silenced.

Forest Cook
(Photo; JUSTIN TALLIS; AFP; Getty Images)

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On Saturday, the experienced enforcer was once again a rock for Forest at the back.

He has slotted in effortlessly between Joe Worrall and Scott McKenna and his leadership qualities haven’t gone unnoticed.

On Saturday, he once again showcased his true class for Forest and Who Scored has some statistics to back that up.

During his 81 minutes on the pitch, he made five clearances and three interceptions.

Cook also showcased his class when it came to reading the game, producing three blocks and making 42 passes.

The former Bournemouth man was withdrawn late on, with Steve Cooper choosing to get Ryan Yates introduced into the action.

That proved a good man. It was the 24-year-old who popped up in injury time to rescue a point for the Reds.

Integral: Forest can go far with Cook at the back

The defender has barely put a foot wrong since checking in at the City Ground during the January transfer window.

His defending is no-nonsense and his experience is there for all to see when he plays for Forest.

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  • WANTED: Cooper on the radar of PL clubs

Clearly, Cooper identified that the Reds needed a better defender than Tobias Figueiredo and Loic Mbe Soh, with both players now down the pecking order.

Cook has ticked all the boxes for Forest and if they can keep him fit for the remainder of the season, a play-off place is well within their grasp.

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