Aston Villa defender Richard Dunne is of the firm belief that youngster Ciaran Clark will eventually become a first-team regular.
The 22-year-old got the nod in Villa's 4-1 defeat to Manchester City on Saturday after filling in for James Collins in central defence.
It was Clark's first Premier League start this term and he is battling to retain his place with Collins now hoping to return against West Brom.
Dunne thinks the versatile youngster will come into his own in time and become a regular for the Republic of Ireland in future as well.
"Ciaran just has to be patient this year," Dunne told the Birmingham Mail. "He is a great lad and is going to be a brilliant player, but he is still young, especially for a centre-back.
"Last year he played a lot of games in midfield and at left-back but I think he wants to be a centre-back. He had a couple of injuries over the summer but it just takes time to develop sometimes.
"Ciaran will get games and I'm certain he'll become a regular at Villa soon enough, so he has to be patient. Maybe ten or 15 games might just be enough for him in the learning process this season.
"Eventually he will take over and become the main man at the back. He will kick on with Ireland as well. The lads who are playing at the moment have played a lot of games and Ciaran is still at the stage where he is learning.
"But it will come to him at some point and I'm sure he will be back in the Ireland squad soon enough."