Chris Coleman is glad to see Papa Bouba Diop has recaptured his “hunger” at Fulham.
The Senegal midfielder, 29, looked set for a move away from Craven Cottage during the January transfer window – but a proposed switch to Barclays Premiership strugglers Wigan failed to materialise.
Coleman feels the tough-tackling African can play a big part for his side over the closing months of the campaign.
He said: “Papa’s attitude has been terrific – really good.
“Last week he came on against Newcastle, and we saw what he is capable of.
“He showed us that in his first season, and that is what he has got to back to.
“He is a good player and he has shown a good attitude in training. It looks like he has got his hunger back.”
Coleman was optimistic all along Diop would stay at Fulham.
“I do not think he was close to signing for Wigan,” he said.
“He spoke with Wigan, but it never got to the stage where Wigan offered terms and the player turned them down.
“He went up and spoke with (Wigan manager) Paul [Jewell] out of courtesy and he wanted to stay with us and fight for his place.
“As a player, he has got the lot – he is 6ft 2in, has quick feet and can score some great goals.
“All he has to do now is to be consistent for us.”
Diop is the right type of player to flourish in Coleman’s squad.
“I do not want anybody here who has not got a hunger and an appetite for football,” said the Welshman.
“I do not want anybody here who is here just because of the money and the lifestyle football gives them.
“I want people who want to play and want to progress and people who want to achieve.
“The problem I’ll have is keeping everybody happy – which is not easy – but I would prefer to have that than have people who are not winners.”