Darren Bent has called for new Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert to give an extended run to Stephen Ireland in the "hole" role behind the main striker to get the best out of him next season.
Ireland was voted Villa's player of the year by supporters for last season as he recovered from a disappointing first campaign at the midlands club.
England striker Bent believes Ireland is capable of achieving even greater heights if given time to settle into his preferred position as opposed to being played out wide.
Bent said: "There's no point playing
"You've got to play
"For me, he's the best footballer in the squad, and if you want to see the best
Bent, currently recovering from the ankle injury which ruled him out of EURO
"The best way to do that is to play him in the 'hole'.
"Confidence can make a massive difference to any player, and when he is feeling good about himself the performances will follow."
A return to the Socceroos becomes less likely with every passing squad announcement, but still coach Holger Osieck says there is hope for Harry Kewell.