Junior Stanislas will get the chance to shine on a big stage on Wednesday night when his loan club Southend United take on Chelsea live on TV.
The young winger has been impressive with the Essex outfit - scoring three goals in six games - and, with the FA Cup third-round replay at Roots Hall being broadcast across the country, it is a chance to underline his potential to a wider audience. The England Under-19 international is just starting out but will relish the chance to again take on some of the world's top talent after the 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge on 3 January.
Gianfranco Zola will be among those watching and the manager is excited for his young charge, who can perform effectively in an advanced role on either wing. That said, he is mindful not to expect too much too soon from a good prospect still learning his trade. Zola said: "It is a big match for him this week and I really hope he can do well. It will be tough but it is an experience that could take him to a different level."
Stanislas established himself last season as a regular in the West Ham United reserve side alongside James Tomkins, Jack Collison and Freddie Sears and also made his name as a set-piece specialist. He took that on at the start of this season and a key moment came when he struck a superb volley in front of Zola to help the second string to a 1-0 defeat of Arsenal back in October.
The loan to Southend followed soon after for the 19-year-old south Londoner, who has been at the Boleyn Ground since he was eleven, and his manager believes the loan experience is doing him the world of good. "It is great for him. I know he is doing very well over there. It is a good experience and I am sure it will help him to grow as a footballer. We are very pleased with how he is getting on so far."