Manchester City legend Vincent Kompany picked out Burnley defender as his star man
Vincent Kompany says that Chelsea defender Ian Maatsen is on the road to getting back to his best at Burnley.
But the Premier League Hall of Famer cited the red card against Blackpool at Turf Moor as the reason for his stalled progression.
Maatsen was given his marching orders during the 3-3 draw in August when a rush of blood to the head caused him to react to Sonny Carey's challenge.
"I've been extremely honest with him and everything that I've told the player I feel comfortable being transparent with," said Kompany. "I said to him that before the moment of his red card he was probably the best player for us. It happens and, like all young players, things change a little bit so you've got to pick yourself back up.
"Now he's on this road where he's just working back to his best level again. If you take it from day one until now, you can see that he's a talented player that's going to be in one of the top sides in the Premier League. This phase of his development is probably the most important one now."
Maatsen has started just three games since and was an unused substitute for the 1-1 draw at home to Stoke City in midweek, as Vitinho deputised.
However, the left back could be reinstated for the trip to the Coventry Building Society Arena as Burnley take on his former club.
He made 35 starts for the Sky Blues last season, scoring three times, in victories against Fulham, Reading and Bristol City.
Kompany said: “The players have been educated on this [squad rotation] for a while now. I think it is something that, if you look at any senior pro – maybe my generation and even previous to my generation – they would have gone, ‘well I prepare if he makes a choice’ and ‘choose one, pick one’.
"Then, one is stewing and there is only one happy. I have gone through that phase where football was changing, where managers came in, and I am talking 10 years ago, they started doing this."
With Charlie Taylor also sitting out the stalemate with the Potters, and Brentford forward Halil Dervisoglu omitted from the matchday squad, Kompany continued: "It is about keeping your legs fresh and the squads are built - and the intensity of the game that we play – it is just not feasible to put it in the legs and in the hearts of one player.
"It is impossible. Some players are more robust and they can withstand it, but other players need some time to be able to rely on somebody else. When the big games come, you play the players you think will win you the games.
"But to get there and to be in that position, you need the whole squad. It is not about keeping players happy, it really is about keeping performances high.”