Sunderland manager Gus Poyet believes that Jack Rodwell is the player who can push the Black Cats on to the next level.
The central midfielder may have made a slow start to life at the Stadium of Light since signing from Manchester City this summer, but his manager still has faith in his ability.
Poyet says that Rodwell is carrying a lot of responsibility on his shoulders this season and he will make a huge impact when he reaches the top of his game.
“I think we’re challenging Jack to take a very important role; to be the difference between a normal team and a better team," the Uruguayan explained to the Chronicle.
“We need a bit of consistency for him to get there, so it’s a challenge.
"He’s been listening more, watching more and when something important happens in a game, we’re showing him what he can do."
It is hardly surprising that Rodwell has taken a while to adapt to playing first-team football after his peripheral role for Manchester City.
The England international made just 26 appearances for the current Premier League champions during his two years playing there and expecting him to be at the top of his game on his arrival in Wearside was perhaps optimistic.
However, it still hasn't stopped a sense of disappointment forming around Rodwell's start to life at Sunderland.
Rodwell was the club's marquee summer signing and he will be expected to perform a key role in the latter stages of the season.
The 23-year-old demonstrated his quality during his time playing for Everton and Poyet's job will be to coax this sort of form back out of him.
Rodwell has only started once in the club's last six fixtures, but he will be hoping to get back in the team in the near future.
Sunderland take on Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool in their next three fixtures and they will need to pick up some unexpected points if they are to get away from the relegation zone.