YASER Kasim is revelling in his role as a senior player in the Swindon Town squad.

The midfielder, dubbed ‘the Iraqi Pirlo’ by Town fans for a series of impressive performances during his breakthrough season as a professional in 2013/14, may only have made 38 appearances in the Football League, but at the age of 23 he has become one of the older and most influential characters in the County Ground dressing room.

Now, with two weeks to go before the start of the new League One campaign, Kasim has spoken about his excitement at taking the club’s young starlets under his wing and coaxing them through their own early experiences of life in senior football.

He told the Advertiser: “I take it on because I enjoy it. You have the responsibility on the pitch for the players and that gives you more influence, so you need to use that for your advantage.

“I enjoy it but the most important thing for those sort of players is the training ground.

“A lot of work has to happen on the training ground – technique, organisation, thinking about the game – because in this day and age you don’t get much of a chance to make an impact.

“It took me a while to make an impact in league football. You need to be a step ahead all the time. I think that’s the way to go forward.”