Arsene Wenger reckons Aaron Ramsey can stake a claim for regular first-team football in Arsenal's Carling Cup clash with Liverpool on Wednesday.
Ramsey has been used sparingly by Wenger since the Arsenal manager splashed out £5million to capture him from Cardiff last year.
The French boss has been keen not to put too much pressure on the young Wales international and given him time to adjust to life in the Premier League.
But after 11 starts and 23 substitute appearances in 16 months with the Gunners, Wenger feels Ramsey is ready to challenge for a regular place in the starting line-up.
"If you consider he is only 18, Ramsey has developed exceptionally well," he said.
"He has made a big improvement compared to last year, when he still looked a little bit like a youth player, but now he looks like a [first-team] player.
"He is really pushing hard, and the other midfielders have a lot of work to keep him out of the side because he is getting very close.
"The target I set him at the start of the season was to get between 15 and 20 games this year, and I think he will get that."
Ramsey has so far made nine substitute appearances this season and started the Carling Cup win over West Brom while claiming his first Premier League goal against Portsmouth in August.
He is set to remain from the side that beat the Baggies 2-0 in the previous round, while Samir Nasri is expected to return from injury.
The French winger has battled back from a broken leg in pre-season and was named on the bench for Sunday's 2-2 draw at West Ham.
Goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski (knee surgery) is another looking to boost his fitness, with Philippe Senderos and Mikael Silvestre providing some experience in defence.
"I will put out a team that has a good chance to win the game," said Wenger.
"It will be a mixed team, but we want to win every game, no matter who plays.
"Liverpool always have a big squad and therefore you face strong opposition.
"I believe they will have to rotate as well as they played Manchester United on Sunday, they play in the league again on Saturday and then go to Lyon."