Wolverhampton Wanderers attacker Daniel Podence changed the game on Saturday.
The star was named on the bench for the game with Aston Villa, with Bruno Lage preferring Hwang Hee-chan and Adama Traore up top.
The manager decided to rest Raul Jimenez after his international exploits, and also went with a three-man midfield.
Leander Dendoncker came in to join Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho.
Podence’s introduction came on 74 minutes, and the diminutive 25-year-old made a decisive impact.
It was his cross that found Conor Coady to score the second Wolves goal.
Podence was a real nuisance after he came on, and his short cameo was a reminder of how big a threat he can be.
He has started the 2021/22 season largely out of favour under Lage.
He didn’t have a pre-season as he recovered from a groin injury, and Adama Traore and Francisco Trincao were the preferred wide options to begin with.
Then Hwang Hee-chan arrived for added competition.
It is not easy for Podence, but he clearly has bags of talent. That has never been in doubt. It is simply about consistency with him.
Podence must build on Villa cameo
Earlier in the season, Podence produced a cracking display against Tottenham Hotspur in the Carabao Cup.
Following that showing, Lage rewarded him with a start against Southampton – his first in the league this season.
Unfortunately, the former Olympiacos man completely wasted his chance on the south coast, and was then back on the bench for the Newcastle United game.
It would be nice to Podence given the chance to start against Leeds United this weekend. He probably has a strong case.
Perhaps he could operate as a number 10 behind Jimenez and Hwang/Traore.
If he does get the nod, it is important for him to seize it this time.
This is a player more than capable of starting week in week out for Wolves, and he’s got to show Lage he can be consistent.