Victor Anichebe has changed his attitude and raised his game to earn a regular place in Everton's starting line-up, according to David Moyes.
Manager Moyes admits that Anichebe has tested his patience on many an occasion since breaking into the first team in 2006, but he believes the Nigeria-born, Liverpool-raised striker is finally starting to realise his potential.
The 24-year-old, who is keeping last season's top scorer Nikica Jelavic out of the starting line-up, turned in an impressive performance in the 2-2 draw at Tottenham a week ago, and he followed it up with a goal that secured a 2-0 victory over QPR on Saturday, which kept Everton firmly in the race for European qualification.
Moyes said: "My patience with him has been tested a few times. At times, his attitude wasn't always what it should have been. I thought: 'If you could sort you attitude out…' But everybody on the academy and reserve staff said: 'We know what he is like. He has got it.'
"Something had to change with Victor and he has realised what you have to do if you want to be successful in this game. All the top players run around and work hard. Coupled with that, he has really great attributes. He has great strength, raw pace and is a tough enough boy.
"He needed a little bit of loving and that needed to come from the stands. The supporters had to show they valued him and thought he was a good player."
Anichebe received a standing ovation when he was replaced by John Heitinga in stoppage time on Saturday, and Moyes said he brought him off just before the end so that the crowd could show their appreciation – and boost his confidence.
The manager added: "I took him off and he deserved the ovation. I think it was also for Victor to understand that the supporters do appreciate him. That will help the boy.
"There is more to come because I think he can finish and score more goals, and his link up play is improving."