Gareth Southgate has challenged Didier Digard to fulfil his potential at Middlesbrough next season.
Boro recently paid £4million to lure the Frenchman away from Paris St Germain, and have been impressed by his showings in pre-season.
A spectacular winner in a 2-1 victory at Carlisle on Tuesday went some way to demonstrating why the North East outfit value the youngster so highly.
The 22-year-old was well short of match fitness on his arrival on Teesside, but is doing his best to push himself into contention for a starting role at the Riverside Stadium ahead of the big kick-off in August.
"I was very pleased with Didier at Carlisle," Southgate told the Evening Gazette.
"We saw quality in his football and he showed he has the ability to keep possession under pressure.
"He is a thinking footballer in the way in which he can change his mind and his direction once one option is closed off to him.
"He can deal with potentially troublesome situations by turning out of them. He was a little more up to speed against Carlisle than he has been. It was more of what we were looking for from him.
"Didier is still adjusting to the pace of the game here, but this was a really encouraging performance from him.
"We are aware that he needs time to adjust to the Premier League but he is already taking strides forward and I'm sure he will keep it going.
"Once he is fully back into the swing then I'm sure he will show everybody what a good player he can be."
Digard was seen as a replacement for the outgoing George Boateng on his arrival and could be handed an opportunity to make the holding midfield role his own over the coming months.