Giovanni Trapattoni hailed Keith Fahey's versatility after adjusting to an unfamiliar role for the Republic of Ireland.
Trapattoni admitted he had a doubt over whether the Birmingham midfielder could play in the centre rather than his more accustomed role on the right.
But the 27-year-old staked his claim for a regular place in the Republic side by slotting in effortlessly during Wednesday's friendly with Norway.
Trapattoni was forced to field an experimental side after a spate of injuries and Fahey formed a comfortable partnership with Glenn Whelan as the Republic slipped to a late 2-1 defeat in Dublin.
"He played very well," said the Italian coach. "He was not only very offensive, he played simply and he played cleverly.
"This was a very difficult game physically and tactically, but Keith Fahey played the way we needed him to.
"He had personality on the ball and I am very satisfied with him. I had a little doubt about him in this position, but he played very well."
Fahey made his Republic debut in May and saw Shane Long's penalty open the scoring on his seventh international appearance.
Morten Gamst Pedersen equalised with a 34th-minute free-kick before Erik Huseklepp struck late on to condemn Trapattoni's men to their third home defeat in four.
"I would have been satisfied with a draw because in the second half we played very well," added the Republic boss.