Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has revealed that the Ghana midfielder Thomas Teye Partey has level ground to compete with others for a starting spot in midfield.
The Black Star had been a mere squad player in the past seasons, having played second fiddle to captain Gabi, Koke and Saul Niguez.
This campaign, however, things have so far looked different as the 24-year-old has started every game since sitting out the league opener with Girona due to suspension.
"It has taken him up to four years to get where he is now," Simeone said, as reported by Pulse Ghana.
"He has worked hard and waited for his moment.
"This pre-season, we talked with him and told him that he was going to compete with everyone for the position.
"It is good competition for him with good players and I believe the best will come."
Following loan spells at Mallorca and Almeria, the Odumase Krobo-born was drafted into Simeone's set-up in 2015-16 where he made 13 league appearances involving three starts.
He improved his stats last term with 16 topflight outings, six of which he featured from the blast of the referee's whistle.
The No.5 has made three league appearances so far this season, scoring once, in addition to a full-time outing at AS Roma in the Champions League.