Chelsea stars Frank Lampard and John Terry heaped praise on Blues defender Ryan Bertrand after the 22-year-old made his Champions League debut in the win over Bayern Munich in Saturday's final.
Chelsea coach Roberto Di Matteo opted to start Bertrand in a major surprise for the final against hosts Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena, the London side going on to claim their first European crown with a 4-3 win on penalties.
The gamble paid off as Bertrand, who Chelsea snapped up from minnows Gillingham in 2005 for just £125,000, played ahead of England star Ashley Cole on the left wing and subdued the threat from Bayern's Dutch wing Arjen Robben.
It was a far cry from the lenghty spells the England under-21 star spent on loan at Bournemouth, Oldham, Norwich, Reading and Nottingham Forest.
Bertrand wasn't even registered to play in Europe for Chelsea before Christmas, but an injury to Cole handed the attacking left-back a chance to prove to Di Matteo that he had enough gumption to make it at the top.
With just seven league appearances this season, Bertrand is the first player in Champions League history to make his competition debut in the final and played for 73 minutes before being replaced by France's Florent Malouda.
Di Matteo was forced to shuffle his starting line-up with captain John Terry, midfielders Ramires, Raul Meireles and defender Branislav Ivanovic all suspended, but Terry could only praise Bertrand's performance.
"Young Ryan was thrown in at the deep end, but he did really well, that was a great decision from Roberto," said Terry, whose red card in the semi-final at Barcelona left him suspended for the Munich final which finished 1-1 after extra time.
"It worked a treat for us.
"I am sure a few people would have looked at that decision and been a bit puzzled, no disrespect to Ryan, because he has been excellent and he didn't show his inexperience at all."
England midfielder Frank Lampard was also complimentary of Bertrand's impressive performance.
"He's clearly a player with a massive future," said Chelsea's stand-in captain.
"He's a 22-year-old with a Champions League medal who came in and did a great job for us, you can't ask for more."