Marc Albrighton's return to the Aston Villa team and the honour of scoring the Premier League's 20,000th goal is reward for the winger's hard work, according to Alex McLeish.
The 22-year-old achieved the landmark strike during Wednesday night's 2-1 home defeat to Arsenal.
Albrighton was outstanding during his first full season of top-flight football in 2010/11 and was voted the club's young player of the year.
But the Academy product has this campaign struggled to regain those heights and found himself on the bench for the majority of the time.
Albrighton finally earned a recall at the start of December and capped his fourth successive start with the 20,000th goal.
McLeish said: "Marc has climbed a mountain since the start of the season. He was doubting himself, but the kid cares.
"He is conscientious, I told him the only thing you can keep doing is working hard. I told him, 'You will get your chance and opportunity' and sometimes it changes just like that.
"He has excelled over the last few weeks and his goal against Arsenal was a classic case of never giving up and chasing lost causes.
"It's never over until the ball is out of play. Marc chased it down, took the gamble, got in there and finished with great aplomb."
Villa are donating the £20,000 on offer from Barclays for the 20,000th goal to their official charity partners, the Acorns Children's Hospice.
Albrighton said: "We were disappointed not to get something out of the Arsenal game, but the honour and the record I picked up for the goal is fantastic.
"It is something myself and the family will look back on and the money is going to a great cause."