Over his two years on loan at Swansea, Jonathan De Guzman developed a reputation as an all-action performer in the centre of the park.
The Canadian-born midfielder used the Swans as a springboard to launch himself onto the international stage with the Netherlands, having held out to play for his adopted nation.
After tallying 15 goals and 13 assists for the South Wales side in a two-year stint, De Guzman made three appearances in the Oranje’s run to the World Cup semi-finals over the summer.
However, an inability to agree a permanent move to the Liberty Stadium saw him move on to Napoli in late August from parent club Villareal.
And De Guzman got off to a great start in scoring the winner for his new employers in their season opener against Genoa, though is still yet to get a start in Serie A.
But Thursday’s performance in the Europa League may be his ticket to getting his name into the first eleven in league play.
The Dutchman bagged all three goals as the Partenopei’s 3-0 drubbing of Swiss outfit Young Boys, banishing demons of a 2-0 loss in the reverse fixture two weeks ago in Bern.
All told the ex-Swansea man got his hat-trick on seven total shots, dialing up four key passes on the day as well. Most importantly, De Guzman’s ‘tripletta’ was the first of his career.
Napoli boss Rafa Benitez has now seen in the flesh how dynamic De Guzman can be, and may well be inclined to add to the 27-year-old’s paltry 103 Serie A minutes.
The Partenopei inherited a versatile midfield operator in Swansea’s loss this summer – one that until Thursday, was yet to show his best in a Napoli shirt.
Perhaps this is the performance he needed to jumpstart his career in southern Italy, and Benitez’s has certainly be given more to consider when he chooses his next line-up to face Fiorentina on Sunday.