Joey Barton says the challenge for Wes Burns is to build on his form last season and cement his place as one of the best players in League One.
The versatile winger will be deployed in multiple positions again this season, having spent the first part of pre-season at right-back, or wing-back.
He has also been utilised on the left, but with knocks to some of his forward line, Barton pushed the Welshman back into his original forward role against Burnley.
For Barton that versatility is something to be admired and he admitted Burns’ display in the defeat to Burnley has given him food for thought as to where Burns features against Peterborough United this afternoon.
He said: “His versatility is something that is a factor because it gives us the opportunity to do different things.
“When I saw him against Burnley, we played him in there (forward) because we had a couple of knocks on the frontline.
“You see his effect on the game and you think he has just got that real pace that scares the hell out of defenders and pushes them back five yards.
“He is that good a player and that smart he can play multiple positions.
“When I saw him go past Tarky (James Tarkowski), who I know is quick when he gets going, and Charlie Taylor in the manner he did against Burnley, I just thought ‘I’d hate Wes Burns running at me’.
“Whether he is running at you from right backmeans he has to run an extra 40, 50 yards, so it is not good for Wes.
“Right wing-back, an extra 20-yards, or actually just standing on you and running at you.
“He is a great lad, a great player; he is the one I’m looking forward to more than anything.
“He came off the back of a really strong season last year and the challenge for him is to back it up.
“If you back it up you announce yourself as a top player.
“There are a few in the group on the cusp of that but Wes is certainly one that really excites you.
“It is great to see the confidence he now has going into games where he believes he is one of the best players in the division.”