Russia boss Guus Hiddink insists Diniyar Bilyaletdinov has proved wrong the critics who said Everton new boy was too weak to make it in England.
The winger spent much of last year injured and looked a shadow of himself when he returned to action for Lokomotiv Moscow.
But it didn't put off David Moyes splashing out £10million for the 24-year-old in August and Bilyaletdinov has impressed in his nine appearances for the club.
Hiddink said: 'Diniyar has proved himself for Everton as a completeattacking midfielder. I have been very happy with him. Recently, I hadseveral conversations with David Moyes and he is also pleased with Bill.
'Toall his critics, he has proved that he can not only make it in afamiliar environment, but also in the most competitive conditions.
'Allthose who considered him a little slow and weak have their reply.Diniyar is regularly scoring and making goals in the mostuncompromisingly tough championship there is.'
A goal in the 1-1draw against Aston Villa at the weekend was spoiled by his red card fora high tackle on Stiliyan Petrov, but Hiddink said: 'This just provesthe point. In any case, passion and enthusiasm should be tempered by acool head. But it's better to have it that way around than vice versa.'
Bilyaletdinov'ssending off does not exclude him from playing in Thursday's EuropaLeague match against Benfica at Goodison Park.
Off day: Bilyaletdinov (right) trudges away after being sent off against Aston Villa
Hiddink has backed Bilyaletdinov to provide the attacking threat for Russia down the left if he needs to leave out Chelsea star Yuri Zhirkov.
Stamford Bridge new boy Zhirkov has been named in the squad to face Slovenia in the two-leg World Cup qualification play-off later this month, but he will not be risked if his knee injury persists.
'I contacted the Chelsea medical staff,' said the former Blues interim manager, 'but so far doctors can't say anything concrete.
'The situation is very similar to the one before the September matches against Liechtenstein and Wales, when Yuri was training with the group, but in the end was not even named in the (matchday) squad.
'If this happens again, we have a good replacement for Zhirkov in Diniyar Bilyaletdinov.'
It would not be a like for like replacement. Although both prefer to play on the left wing, Zhirkov plays as an attacking full back for his country.
Bilyaletdinov would not start in defence for Russia, but a more defensive alternative would be chosen and the reins taken off Hiddink's attacking midfielders as a result.
Manchester City join the chase for Everton's teen ace Jack RodwellMikel Arteta adds to Everton injury hell as playmaker faces third operationEverton whizkid Jack Rodwell eyeing sweet revenge mission against BenficaCharles Sale: Poppies growing on Premier League clubsEVERTON FC