Burnley boss Sean Dyche delighted with development of January signing Josh Brownhill
However, with Jeff Hendrick deciding to leave at the end of his contract at the end of June, the former Preston midfielder was pitched in at Manchester City in the first game back, narrow on the right.
He filled that role for the following games against Watford and Crystal Palace, before Jack Cork's ankle injury saw him shift into a central role.
The 24-year-old has flourished in that position, and scored his first goal for the club, on his 12th-successive start, in the 2-0 win at Millwall in the Carabao Cup third round on Wednesday night.
Dyche has been pleased with his progress, and said: "I think Browny's playing really well at the moment, he's been a joy to play with for Westy, and I'm sure Josh Benson (at Millwall).
"He got thrown in at the deep end against Man City playing wide, he took to it - it was a tough night for us but I was really pleased with what he offered, and he's never really looked back.
"He's got mentally stronger as regards our group, his attachment to the group, because until you're playing in the first team regularly, you're kind of not sure where you stand.
"Boundless energy, will and desire, and he's a good footballer. I've been really pleased with how he's come through."
Brownhill was a player the club had monitored since his days at Deepdale, and finally made their move in January, beating West Ham to his signature.
He was another player plucked from the Championship, as Dyche has so often done, and he added: "It's always a risk taking players out of the Championship, but the way he is, what we'd seen - the scouts were very impressed with him.
"Part of the squad mentality and having enough bodies in our squad, which we are light of, it allows players to get used to what we do, and Josh wasn't in the side for a while, he's developed slowly, but when he got his chance, he's actually ready.
"I've been really pleased, he puts a lot in, he's a great lad."
Brownhill was captain at his previous club Bristol City, and even at the age of 24, has shown his leadership qualities with Burnley, in the way he has gone about his game, and assuming responsibility by taking a penalty in the shootout win over Sheffield United in the second round of the Carabao Cup last week.
Dyche noted: "The biggest challenge is when stadium life gets back to normal, it's a different feeling when you're playing in front of 78,000 at Old Trafford.
"That's another part of development, but what he can control at the minute, with his performances, I've been really pleased with what he's been offering and his attachment to the group has been excellent as well.
"He's going about his business very well, but I will say, in respect of Westy, I could probably play with Westy at the moment!"