Harry Redknapp said he saw enough in Luka Modric's cameo performance in central midfield at West Brom to hand him that key role against Wigan - and he delivered in style.
The Croatian magician has been employed just behind a lone striker in a 4-4-1-1 formation for most of Harry's time at the club so far but had to switch to a regular central midfield role with Didier Zokora moving to left-back after Benoit Assou-Ekotto's red card in the first half at the Hawthorns on December 28.
Handed the position by Harry for Friday's FA Cup third round tie against the in-form Latics, Luka responded with a performance full of energy and his typical panache, capped with the second goal in our 3-1 win.
Harry reflected: "I played Luka in a basic 4-4-2 as a central midfield player and I've never done that with him before.
"It was a gamble but he showed enough at West Brom when we went down to 10 men, I dropped him into midfield and he coped great, it wasn't a problem for him.
"I thought 'let's see if he can play in there' with Zokora to give protection - he covers the ground, shuts players down.
"I think we can play Luka in there because he's so good on the ball, he keeps the ball and is a great little footballer.
"He's strong enough and certainly good enough. I can't see any reason why he can't play in there for us. He was terrific."