Aston Villa manager David O'Leary has admitted that he had to pack star midfielder Steven Davis off on a week's holiday - in a bid to keep his batteries charged for the long winter ahead.
The young Northern Ireland international has emerged over the past 12 months as potentially the best 'home-grown' talent developed at the club in two decades.
Today marks the first anniversary of Davis's first Premiership start - last term's 1-0 home win over Tottenham Hotspur. And the 20-year-old midfield playmaker has failed to start just five games since (four of which saw him come off the bench).
He is one of just three Villa ever-presents this season. And, having also played six times for his country since the start of the season, Davis has now played 21 games in three months.
O'Leary is acutely aware that a such hard-working player, who does not turn 21 until New Year's Day, needs protecting. And, having tried to get him out of international duty altogether last week, he was at least able to allow Davis to head off to enjoy some American sunshine during the first part of the latest international break.
With the Irish not playing until last Tuesday night, when they drew 1-1 in an unnecessary friendly with Portugal, Davis spent the previous week on holiday.
"I know club managers all moan about international breaks," said O'Leary. "But, for once, I got lucky.
"Steven came to me after the Manchester City game to say how tired he was feeling.
"So I told him that after the Liverpool game, I didn't want to see him for a week.
"I tried to get him out of the international game and couldn't. But there was enough time for him to get off to the States for a week and he had a holiday to freshen him up.
"He's come back with a bit of colour in his cheeks and a bit more life in him and it looks to have worked a treat."
Having once played an entire 42-game top flight season with Arsenal when he was just 17, O'Leary is more sympathetic than most to the needs of young players when it comes to rest and recuperation.
" I was lucky," said O'Leary. "When it went so well for me that first season and I stayed in the team, the manager Bertie Mee was very good with me. Whenever there was a chance of a break, he didn't train me and I felt the benefit.
"And that's what I've tried to do with the likes of Steven Davis."
It is now nine months - and 25 games - since Davis was not chosen for a Villa starting line- up. And, although he has clearly had a busy time of it, O'Leary is not surprised that he has become an automatic choice.
"You expect young players to eventually have a dip in form," said O'Leary. "But it doesn't surprise me that Steven hasn't, as it is always possible if they're looked after in the right way.
"I'm delighted he's doing well enough to stay in and I just wish I had more young kids who are good enough in that way.
"I gave him a carrot when he first got in the team. I told him I didn't care about reputations and who he might keep out of the team, and that if he did the business then he'd stay in. And he's done just that."
The eye-catching form of the unwitting Davis was, in fact, the root cause of last week's saga involving the unhappy Eric Djemba-Djemba.
Davis's already growing reputation made it look even more of a surprise signing when O'Leary bought Djemba- Djemba for £1.35 million from Manchester United in January. And the fact that he has made just four Premiership starts since led to the frustrated Cameroon international voicing his displeasure rather too publicly whilst back home in Africa last week.
It has even led to his agent telling him that he needs to be more careful about criticising his manager in future. But O'Leary is happy to let Djemba-Djemba get on with the job of winning back his place.
"For years we've been dealing with players going away and making comments like that," said O'Leary. "He woke up a worried boy, came to see me very apologetic, telling me what he'd said had been taken out of context.
"But enough has been said and written now, and the challenge for him now is to wait for his chance and get in ahead of the man who's got the shirt."