Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has hailed Cheick Tiote's potential - believing there is much more to come from the midfielder.
The 24-year-old has impressed at St James' Park since his £3.5million summer switch from Dutch champions FC Twente.
Pardew believes the Ivory Coast international midfielder is a similar type of player as Chelsea's Michael Essien - but there are areas of his game in which he must improve.
He said: "He reminds me of Essien, if I am honest, he is that type.
"He needs to learn that in and around our third, he needs to be a lot safer - he can be a bit loose there - and he needs to be more progressive in his play.
"There is so much more to come from him if we can get him out of just popping it off safely.
"When he attacks teams and runs at them, he could be as effective for us as Essien is for Chelsea."
Pardew, who took over the reins at St James' Park in December, added: "When I arrived, I could tell he was a very, very good player from what I had seen on TV, and when I reviewed the dvds of previous games, it just reinforced that.
"To watch him from the sideline, his energy and his power, he is as strong in possession as you will find.
"Sometimes, he invites trouble because he is holding two or three players off and he gets himself into physical challenges and he takes too many bookings.
"But because of the power he has, he has such confidence that he can hold people off. It frightens me to death at times, but he is such a brilliant character."
Pardew takes on former club West Ham on Wednesday after posting two wins in four games since taking over at the Magpies.
The former West Ham boss - who spent more than three years in charge at Upton Park before being relieved of his duties in December 2006 - hopes both clubs can retain their top-flight status this term.
He said: "I haven't actually been back to Upton Park since I left, not to watch a game.
"I have purposely kept away because when I did return, I wanted to return with a really good team, and I hope to do that next year in the Premier League for both clubs.
"This game is important because it's about this year and about both of us making sure we are Premier League sides.
"I think West Ham will escape the drop and I certainly hope we will, and a victory for us tomorrow would certainly go a long way towards putting a little bit of distance between us and that pressure cooker down at the bottom."