Everton manager Roberto Martinez has hailed centre-back Antolin Alcaraz, ahead of their Premier League date with Southampton.
Alcaraz, 31, has made just three starts for the Merseyside club this league season, and will be paired with John Stones at the back for the first time since January when they visit St Mary's.
The Paraguay international will step up in the absence of Sylvain Distin and Phil Jagielka, and Martinez had no doubt he would help Everton in their race for a UEFA Champions League spot.
"I think Antolin's biggest strength is his mentality," Martinez told the Liverpool Echo.
"I've seen him many times playing for Paraguay in the worst possible circumstances against the best strikers in world football and he's been able to cope with that with ease.
"He has incredible composure on the ball. I've seen him face Brazilians in the Copa Libertadores. I've seen him score against Italy in the 2010 World Cup which got his country a 1-1 draw.
"He reads the game well, understands the play and he's outstanding in the air. Then he's good in one versus one scenarios so as a defender he has a real advantage on strikers because of those attributes.
"He can come out on top of strikers every time."
Alcaraz was chided for his performance in their 4-0 derby loss to Liverpool, his most recent league appearance.
But Martinez said the former Wigan and Club Brugge man had excuses for his performance.
"Like any player it's important he's 100 per cent on the pitch, and in the derby he wasn't 100 per cent he just put himself forward because of the problems we had at the back," he said.
"That day both our centre-backs weren't really fit but they wanted to help the team and be available.
"Since then we've been able to give him a lot of volume of work and so to have him, with all his experience, for the final three games is a big plus."
Goalkeeper Tim Howard said he trusted the new-look partnership of Alcaraz and Stones, despite their lack of experience together.
"I don't think anyone can deny how well he has played. He has fitted right in like a glove. He is a natural," Howard said of Stones.
"And, of course, with Antolin, his experience speaks volumes. He comes right into a big match, reads the game really well and is so confident and composed on the ball."
|Coach: M. Pochettino|
for S. Gallagher 76'
for A. Lallana 86'
for S. Davis 90'
|River owe Tigres´ Esqueda - Mercado|
|Van Gaal expecting big season from Shaw|
|Begovic keen to challenge Courtois|
|Mourinho launches attack on Benitez|
|CONMEBOL ´knocked on a lot of doors´ to keep half-spot - president|
|America 0 Benfica 0 (3-4 on penalties): Primeira Liga champions finally win|
|Napoli striker Higuain ´untouchable´ - Gabbiadini|
|Arsenal´s friendly form will boost confidence - Wenger|
|Nagatomo-Melo swap possible, says agent|
|Chelsea 2 Barcelona 2 (4-2 on penalties): Courtois stars for Premier League champions|
|Eriksen calls for ruthless Spurs|
|Pulis praises Berahino attitude|
|Alderweireld confident of top-four finish|
|Villa ready for tough Spurs clash|
|West Ham edge win on Carrow Road anniversary|
|Kozak scores twice as Villa draw at Wolves|
|Stanislas brace leads Bournemouth past Yeovil|
|Watford slip to friendly defeat at Cardiff|
|Lukaku injury sours Everton win at Dundee|
|UEFA Champions League Review: Fenerbahce draw blank as Monaco impress|
|West Brom earn friendly win over Walsall|
|Vardy at the double as Leicester beat Burton|
|Atletico impress in win over Oviedo|
|Herrera sacked by Mexico after ´punch´|
|Gerrard, Keane and Bradley pull out of MLS All-Star squad|
|Marseille reach Diaby agreement|
|Sammer thrilled with Vidal´s winning mentality|
|Platini expected to launch FIFA presidency bid|
|Romanov sacked me over Barca snub - Korobochka|
|Villa complete Crespo capture|
|Wolfsberger v Borussia Dortmund: Bender praises ´fun but exhausting´ training|
|Okaka swaps Sampdoria for Anderlecht|
|Southampton v Vitesse: Fonte excited for ´dream´ sojourn into Europe|
|Bournemouth agree King compensation|
|West Ham v Astra: Kouyate confident West Ham can progress|
|Vidal completes Bayern switch, signs four-year deal|
|Fabregas calls for Champions League improvement|
|BREAKING NEWS: Filipe Luis completes Atletico return|
|Bayern to present Vidal|
|Wenger unfazed by Mourinho´s spending jibe|
|Pellegrini: Sterling will justify price tag|
|Cavani hit with two-match Uruguay ban|
|Bonucci to remain at Juve until 2020|
|No bids for Berahino - West Brom|
|Putin: Blatter deserves a Nobel prize|
|Howe: Swansea a benchmark for Bournemouth|
|New Parma to play in Serie D|
|Mata vows to hit the goal trail at United|
|Drogba ´perfect fit´ for Montreal|
|Berahino ´not yet´ ready for Tottenham - Irvine|
|Romero lauds caring Van Gaal|
|Jese flying at Real under Rafa|
|Sampdoria unwilling to pay €10m for Balotelli|
|Mourinho talks up Arsenal title chances|
|Hull sign Ryan Taylor, Sam Clucas|
|Kane, Pochettino hail MLS All-Star test|
|Di Santo sorry for swift Werder departure|
|Mourinho tells Ronaldo: Team honours come first|
|Khedira returns to Juve training|
|Celtic v Qarabag: Champions League return of utmost importance, says Collins|
|Pellegrini: Jovetic had to go|
|Manquillo completes Marseille move|
|Schalke reject Juve´s Draxler bid|
|Blanc: Di Maria deal ´close´|
|Di Santo debut ends in stalemate|
|Fire sign Drogba, trade him to Montreal Impact|
|FIFA and UEFA welcome ruling on third-party ownership|
|Juve kick off title defence against Udinese|
|Stoke sign free agent Afellay|
|Benitez confident Ramos will stay|
|Fenerbahce issue warning to fans|
|UEFA Champions League Preview: De Boer confident Ajax are ready for Vienna test|
|Bility: I am the favourite for FIFA presidency|
|Pienaar to miss start of season|
|Vietnam 1 Manchester City 8: Sterling shines as tourists run riot|
|All-Star Keane relishing Spurs clash|
|Shaun Wright-Phillips joins brother Bradley at Red Bulls|
|Inter 0 Real Madrid 3: Rodriguez stunner caps comfortable win|
|Villa sign Ayew|
|Watford complete Berghuis transfer|
|Robben returns to Bayern training|
|Pulis anxious to make West Brom additions|
|David Luiz eager to welcome ´fantastic´ Di Maria|
|Fernando injury free ahead of new campaign|
|Hummels blames weight issues for poor season|
|Defoe hoping for early Sunderland goals|
|Depay hints at identity of ´surprise´ United striker|
|Tigres UANL v River Plate: Hosts look to bounce back and make history|
|Crespo set for Villa move|
|Terry: I would never join a Premier League rival|
|Van Gaal coy on United future|
|Romero to cover potential De Gea exit - Van Gaal|
|Uruguay win men´s football gold at Pan Am Games|
|Pirlo thanks New York City fans for ´beautiful´ welcome|
|Mexico capitalised on ´the mistakes we made´ - Schafer|
|Herrera delighted with Mexico display|
|MLS Review: Whitecaps build happy home, Pirlo debuts|
|Guardado wins Golden Ball at Gold Cup|
|NZF confirms Olympics disqualification appeal|
|Jamaica 1 Mexico 3: CONCACAF giants complete form turnaround|
|New York Red Bulls 2 Benfica 1: Another scalp for MLS side|
|Romero signs with United|
|Moghreb Tetouan 1 Al Hilal Omdurman 1: Visitors go top|
|Van Gaal rules out Ronaldo bid|