West Brom manager Roberto Di Matteo says Youssouf Mulumbu's notable form has come as no surprise to him this season.
The defensive midfielder has impressed for the newly-promoted Baggies in the Premier League so far, helping them collect 10 points from their opening encounters to sit sixth in the early standings.
Italian boss Di Matteo insists that while not everyone at the Hawthorns was convinced the 23-year-old would make an immediate impact, Albion's coaching staff kept faith in him from the start.
"I'm not surprised by Youssouf," Di Matteo told the Birmingham Mail. "Some people in the club are but I'm not.
"Maybe he is overlooked by the (national) press but not by us.
"He is an unsung hero that every team needs and we very much appreciate him as a management, especially as he plays in a position that we know very well.
"(Assistant coach) Eddie (Newton) played in that position and so did I and we know how hard it is.
"He is a willing boy and he wants to learn and he wants to improve.
"He has stepped up and started well and let's just hope he keeps his feet on the ground and keeps on wanting to become a better player.
"We see him in training every day so we can see who will step up and who won't.
"We appreciate what he does."
Mulumbu does not often give interviews due to his lack of confidence when speaking English, but Di Matteo says the Congolese player gets on well with his team-mates.
"He is a good guy," added Di Matteo. "He is a jolly boy with good attitude and good application.
"He has teamed up with Gonzo (Gonzalo Jara) and they seem to have formed a good partnership, although I don't know what language they speak."