Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate insists that winger Marvin Emnes has a role to play at the Riverside Stadium.
Emnes has been limited to just two appearances in the Carling Cup since his £3.2million summer signing from Sparta Rotterdam.
But Southgate believes the Holland Under 21 international will benefit from being given time to settle on Teesside.
Southgate said: "We don't bring any players in with the belief that they must automatically go straight into the first team.
"Of course we sign them because we see them as first-team players. But we feel that most players need time to adjust. That particularly applies to young players like Emnes and Didier Digard.
"This is their first experience outside of their own country and it can come as a shock to the system."
Emnes has also been held back by a couple of injuries and bouts of international duty but Southgate says his opportunities will come.
He told the Evening Gazette: "It's been frustrating for him so far because it's been stop-start, but his career here is just beginning and we will bring him along at the right pace.
"I like Marvin a lot. That's why I brought him here. He is an exciting player who has goals in him and he is fast.
"Marvin will become more and more involved as he gets used to us. We have invested in him for the long term."