Gerard Houllier admits he instantly recognised the importance to Aston Villa of midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker after he was repeatedly overlooked by previous manager Martin O'Neill.
Former England Under-21 captain Reo-Coker's days at Villa looked numbered in the summer.
He had a training ground fall-out with O'Neill early last season and made only spasmodic appearances for the midlands club.
But one of Houllier's first actions after taking charge last month was to restore Reo-Coker to the side and he has responded with some encouraging performances.
Houllier told Press Association Sport: "Right away I knew that I needed Nigel and I think he has done well for us. We needed someone who has got the grit to win the ball back for us.
"Nigel has got a specific job for the team and he is doing it well. Don't forget, he had hardly played since the beginning of the season before he came into the side."