Aston Villa midfielder Fabian Delph today insisted Aleksandar Tonev has been handed a licence to thrill and can be the Premier League’s surprise package.
Delph expects claret and blue new-boy Tonev to shine in the top flight.
The Bulgarian could make his debut in Saturday’s opening day trip to Arsenal after his summer switch from Lech Poznan.
The 23-year-old has shrugged off a thigh injury and is in contention to feature at the Emirates Stadium.
Delph said: “He’s very powerful as a player. He’s strong, he’s sharp, he’s direct too and he gives us another genuine goal threat.
“I have been so impressed with him. You rarely – if ever – get players who are two-footed in football these days. He’s great with both feet.”
Tonev was one of five recruits from Europe in boss Paul Lambert’s summer rebrand and Delph insisted the winger can conquer the language barrier.
He said: “He’s settled in really well. We have a great relationship as a group of players. We are very close.
“He’s part of our group now. He’s one of the lads. I talk to him all the time.”
Meanwhile, reports claiming Villa have turned down the chance to re-sign Gareth Barry on loan from Manchester City are wide of the mark, with the former Villa Park skipper never offered to the club.