Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has singled out Nani for praise after a season where the winger seemed to turn his Old Trafford career around.
The Portuguese international was seemingly heading for the exit door at certain times during the season, after some underwhelming performances and some outspoken criticism of manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
But Ferdinand believes he deserves credit for knuckling down in the second half of the season and proving his true value.
"Nani's really come on since Christmas,” Ferdinand told the club's official website.
“He’s a young player learning the game and he’s got his head down and worked, really knuckled down. He’s seen the benefits of that by becoming an effective part of the team.
"The important thing is he’s producing an end product – scoring goals and setting up chances. Because of that he’s getting a consistent run in the team and any player benefits from that.”
The 23-year-old has lived in the shadow of countryman Cristiano Ronaldo for much of his career with United, but Ferdinand believes after a solid season out of his former team-mate's shadow he has shown the ability to become one of United's most important performers next year.
“Nani’s got the potential to do what he wants,” Ferdinand added.
“He’s one of the sharpest players around, has a great strike with both feet - he’s got the potential to be a top, top player.
"If he continues the way he’s going he’ll be a great weapon for next season.”
Nani played a part in 23 Premier League games this season, scoring three goals and providing six assists.
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