Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper has lauded the impact of Cafu during an interview with Nottinghamshire Live. The Portuguese midfielder played for 49 minutes of Saturday’s win over Reading following an injury to Max Lowe.

It was the most Cafu has played in any game since playing the full 90 minutes against Stoke back in August. He has made just eight substitute appearances since then having been shunted down the pecking order.

The 29-year-old never shies away from hard work though. He has been in most of Cooper’s squads this season and was rewarded for his sheer determination to force his way into the team.

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Cafu didn’t disappoint in the 4-0 thrashing of Reading. A cute pass around the corner set Forest on their way to goal number four, with Xande Silva setting up Sam Surridge for a tap in.

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The midfielder was integral under Chris Hughton last season. Ryan Yates has kicked on this time around though and with Jack Colback enjoying a renaissance, Cafu’s chances have been restricted.

Cooper has been impressed with him though. Ahead of tomorrow’s game with QPR, he heaped praise on the talented player during his pre-match press conference.

He told Nottinghamshire Live: “Cafu hasn’t featured too much lately, but he came on and his physical outputs were excellent.

“He contributed in a good way. That’s because he’s a true professional, he gets his head down. I said in our game review meeting this morning, what a brilliant example of how to be when you’re not in the team.

“He’s a very good technical player, he’s athletic and he’s powerful.

“Cafu cares. He cares about the club and he cares about the team.

“He’s a winner and he likes to celebrate when we score.”

Cafu could earn more Forest chances

With Colback likely to drop into left-back with Max Lowe out injured, Cafu will be back up to James Garner and Ryan Yates.

With that in mind, his chances of getting a chance in the team have significantly improved ahead of the final stages of the 2021/22 campaign.

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Cafu hasn’t often been viewed as a popular signing; given that he checked in from Olympiacos as part of the deal that saw Tiago Silva go the other way.

Cooper is right to praise him, however, and his commitment to the cause has never been in question even when he’s been on the bench.

On Saturday he was brilliant and now he might get a few more Forest outings.

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