Sunderland skipper Lee Cattermole feels Jordan Henderson will need to be rested soon or risk burning out.
The Black Cats captain has spent much of the season playing alongside his young colleague in the heart of midfield.
He has been as impressed as anyone by Henderson's development, with his fine form rewarded with an England debut against France in November.
It is, however, important to remember that the North East native is only 20 years old and still learning his trade.
Cattermole is confident Steve Bruce will handle Henderson in the right way, but admits it is unlikely to be too long before the youngster is forced to take a break.
"He's played a lot of football and he'll maybe need a rest soon because he's played so much football with the U21s and stepping into the seniors," he told the Journal.
"He's played 90 minutes for us every week.
"He's going to get a rest at some point but he played on the right against West Ham and showed he can do a job there, he came inside and scored a goal with his left foot."
Henderson has been deployed in a wide role since notching the winner against the Hammers but is likely to be returned to the middle of the park against Manchester United on Boxing Day as Cattermole has joined a lengthening list of absentees.