Rory Delap says Tyrese Campbell is an example for other Stoke City youngsters on the fringes to try to emulate.
Campbell has roared up the pecking order under Michael O’Neill, seizing his chance with a game-changing cameo from the bench against Sheffield Wednesday on Boxing Day when an imminent exit had appeared on the cards.
He has bagged a long-term contract and is central to Stoke’s plans as they try to climb up the Championship whenever football returns.
And players like Harry Souttar, Lasse Sorensen and Nathan Collins are hoping to follow in his wake and cement their places under O’Neill.
“There’s one or two who are consistent in training and putting a real case for starting games,” said Delap.
“I think one or two believe they should have been given a chance, but in our eyes they haven’t quite earned the chance.
“Tyrese is a good example. He had to bide his time, but I think Ty would be the first to say there were things he could have done better in that period to get into the starting 11.
“His time on loan at Shrewsbury did him the world of good because he was in and out of their team and that showed him it wasn’t just not happening at one club.
“We saw a real turnaround in his training every day and he’s reaped the rewards.
“He’s still only just 20 and that’s young for a regular starter in the Championship. That’s got to be the next phase for him – starting every game.”
He added: “Elsewhere, there’s plenty of talent like Nathan Collins, and Harry Souttar who’s doing so well at Fleetwood, and someone like Lasse Sorensen who’s really chomping at the bit and is a real example to the even younger lads with the way he works daily.
“Then there’s another four or five in the under-23s ready to step up and be the ones putting the pressure on the older lads.”