Nabil Bentaleb started the season expected by fans to be nothing more than a rotational option in the squad at Tottenham Hotspur, but his importance has grown by the game.
The central midfielder is only 20 years old, but his energy and technical ability have been huge assets to Spurs and it is no coincidence that their upturn in form has come at the same time as his inclusion in the first team.
Tottenham have won 70% of the Premier League matches that Bentaleb has started this season, while they have been victorious in just 30% when he has been left off the team sheet.
It shows how valuable he has become for the side, but the stat also brings about a concern as he is no longer available for selection.
Bentaleb will miss the upcoming month of fixtures due to his commitments to the Algerian national team, who he will be representing at the African Cup of Nations.
It is a huge blow for Tottenham, who are now fighting for a Champions League place after a stunning run of form.
Spurs are unbeaten in their last nine matches, but they now have to show that they can function without Bentaleb in the line-up and it will require some of their current struggling stars to step up.
Mousa Dembele looks most likely to fill in the void that the Algerian international leaves, but Benjamin Stambouli and Paulinho will also harbour ambitious of staking their claims for a first-team place.
To do so, their standards will have to be greatly improved from what they have shown before as they are clearly covering for one of the side's most integral stars.
Tottenham play games against Crystal Palace, Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion in January, meaning they have a chance to claim maximum points, but they will have to banish their old record of struggling without Bentaleb in the team.