Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill believes defender Nicky Shorey has taken inspiration from midfielder Stiliyan Petrov in battling back to regain his first-team spot.
Petrov became O'Neill's first major signing in a £6million switch from Celtic in the summer of 2006 but struggled initially to make an impact at Villa Park.
The Bulgaria international was even axed from the starting line-up for a spell, but he has won over the doubters to such an extent that skipper Gareth Barry has tipped him as a major contender for the club's player of the year award.
Shorey made the £5million move from Reading in August but was dropped from the side in November after the shock home defeat against Middlesbrough.
The England player has also shown battling qualities similar to Petrov and finally regained his spot for Villa's last two Premier League games with Manchester United and Everton.
O'Neill said: "It is very possible that Nicky has taken inspiration from the example of Stiliyan. He is the best case scenario in point when talking about players here.
"It is only just a year ago that people were concerning themselves about whether Stiliyan had a future here. But he has battled back so much.
"If every person shows the same determination and willingness and drive that Stiliyan has shown the last year, there will be a future for anyone. Players have to fight back to be in the side if they are out of it - and I have been delighted with Nicky's fightback and his comeback."
There has been speculation that Shorey's days will be numbered especially once Wilfred Bouma finally returns from his long-term ankle problem. But O'Neill is quick to squash the theory that he has had a fall-out with the player.
He said: "I was asked this question before over whether Nicky has a future here. It does surprise me. Why shouldn't people have futures here?
"I don't sign players here not for them to have some sort of future here. The future generally depends on players.
"You will have occasions when some players are genuinely unlucky not to be in the team. But for the most part players pick themselves. There might be a reason why people aren't every team but I am not going to sit here every week and explain everything to the minutest detail."