Sunderland boss Steve Bruce has lavished praise on teenage midfielder Jordan Henderson.
The 19-year-old has been filling the boots of injured midfield dynamo Lee Cattermole in recent weeks after he was ruled out for three months with a damaged medial ligament.
Henderson has excelled under the pressure of replacing £6million summer signing Cattermole, with his performance in the 1-0 win over Arsenal at the weekend his best to date.
Bruce believes the job the Sunderland-born teenager did against the quality of Cesc Fabregas shows the potential he possesses, as Arsenal failed to score for the first time this season.
"We played him against Fabregas so that shows the faith I have got in the kid," Bruce said.
"We know Fabregas seems to be able to run effortlessly, I think he is the top midfield player in the Premier League.
"We asked Jordan to stay with him and he did it manfully."
Henderson is a product of the club's youth academy and, after impressing during pre-season, has been involved in all but one of the club's 16 games to date.
His form prompted a new four-year contract last month and with five of his eight starts having come in the last five games, he can expect to keep his place in the side as the Black Cats travel to Wigan this weekend.
The Latics will be desperate to atone for their humiliating 9-1 defeat to Tottenham at the weekend and will be encouraged by doubts surrounding Sunderland's striking options.
Kenwyne Jones remains suspended while Bruce will learn on Thursday the extent of Darren Bent's hamstring injury, which may sideline him for three weeks.
That leaves Bruce with just Fraizer Campbell of his three main strikers available and he could turn to one of out of favour pair David Healy and Daryl Murphy for the DW Stadium encounter.