Stiliyan Petrov believes team-mate Nigel Reo-Coker can still play a key role in Aston Villa's season.
The midfielder was recently cast aside after a training ground bust-up with manager Martin O'Neill which appeared to spell the end of his time at Villa Park.
However, more than a month after he last played for the first team, Reo-Coker came off the bench in the 1-1 home draw with Manchester City.
The former West Ham captain made his first start since the fall-out against Sunderland in the Carling Cup on Tuesday and Petrov believes he demonstrated why he still has a future at the club.
"Nigel is a very important player for us," he said.
"He has shown down the years he is a fighter, he is a character and what happened is (gone). We don't even pay attention to this anymore.
"Nigel is back, he performed very well against Sunderland, was very strong and he showed the manager how important he is to us.
"Everyone started the season well including Nigel and it is great to see Nigel back."
Lose your head
Petrov continued: "Sometimes things like that happen and some players lose their head in training.
"But Nigel has been really working hard and he showed that the other night as well at Sunderland as well.
"It is a long season and we are going to need every player especially with cup games coming up as well, quick and fast.
"We have a very hectic schedule this month and next month so the manager will need everyone available."
Despite the match at the Stadium of Light going into extra-time, Petrov feels the team will be fresh for when they travel to Everton on Saturday.
"We will be fine. It is our job and we need to make sure we recover and we will be ready for the Everton game," he added.
"It was a long and hard night against Sunderland and we have only one more day to recover and I think we will be fine against Everton."