Kolo Toure believes that Nigel de Jong could develop into one of the best holding midfielders in Europe.
The Blues skipper was hugely impressed with the manner in which the Dutchman outshone Michael Essien and Frank Lampard in the 2-1 win over Chelsea.
He is adamant that De Jong could go on to great things and even be a star of this summer’s World Cup finals.
“Nigel can be one of the best that there is in his position; he just needs consistency,” said the captain.
The way he played against Chelsea was the best I have seen him play, he was outstanding all through the match and every time there was a second ball he was there to win it
“The last two games we have shown the kind of fight for each other that we need if we are to be successful and Nigel exemplified that.”
There was praise too for De Jong from the manager Mark Hughes who revealed that but for a high pain threshold Saturday’s man of the match might not have come out for the second half of the contest.
“Nigel was excellent,” declared the boss. “I left him out on the Wednesday against Arsenal because I had an eye on the Chelsea game and I knew I would need his qualities.
“He stepped up to the plate in fantastic fashion, he was struggling at half time and I thought I might have to substitute him because of a bang on the knee.
“But he’s a strong individual and once he was back out there, there was no way I was going to get him off. He typified the spirit of the group.”