Gus Poyet has hailed the recent impact of Emanuele Giaccherini after the Italian produced a pair of powerful performances from the bench in Sunderland's recent Premier League revival.
The former Juventus man came off the bench to lay on two goals for Connor Wickham at Manchester City to spark this current run of form, and then helped himself to a goal and another assist against Cardiff last week. Naturally, it hasn't gone unnoticed.
Poyet told the Sunderland Echo:
He is what I call an ‘in-between' player because he can go in between the lines and makes the final pass. He's an ‘in-between' player - so you're not asking him to go and defend, and you're not asking him to be an out-and-out striker.
It's a very difficult position to play because you're neither one nor the other and if you're neither one nor the other then you have to make a difference - otherwise you find it hard to get a game.
When it comes off, those sort of players are very important. They are the creators and the goalscorers and they are always the most expensive players because they are the ones that do the most difficult thing - creating and scoring goals.
What we've been missing most of the season is people to create and to score and it is great that we've got players like Giacchy and Connor Wickham producing top form, players who are now slotting in and showing what they're capable of doing.
Giaccherini probably has been a disappointment overall, but ultimately he has produced this season. His tally of 5 goals and 4 assists puts many more heralded players to shame, including Hatem Ben Arfa and Stephane Sessegnon.
But Poyet is right that if these kind of players are not producing with some degree of regularity, it's tough to justify playing them. We saw with Sessegnon ourselves that they are something of a luxury who can almost hold your team hostage if they are not doing the business.
Hopefully Giaccherini sticks around for next season and hopefully he gets more football because it looks like he is just starting to find his feet here.