IT took just one look at Scott Arfield in pre-season to convince me that he was more than ready, willing and – most importantly – able to make the step up to the Premier League.
So much so, that when it came to naming my Fantasy Football line-up he was the first on the teamsheet.
Arfield was excellent in Burnley’s promotion season.
He looked exceptional in the summer – fitter, faster, fancier footwork, and more method to his movement in and around the box.
Should the Clarets be the surprise package of the Premier League then he will provide the giftwrap.
The story is all the more remarkable when you consider the 25-year-old’s path could have been entirely different. And not just in recent times.
Back in his native Scotland he doubled as a singer-songwriter for indie punk band ‘The Begbies’. But in 2010, while with Falkirk, he revealed how he was ordered by then manager Eddie May to put music to the back of his mind and quit the band.
That football focus led to a move south of the border, to Huddersfield Town, a play-off winners’ medal two years later and place in the Championship.
But by the end of the 2012/13 season Arfield was made available for a free transfer and left in limbo.
Step forward Sean Dyche with the offer of a pre-season trial.
But it was not long until it was more than that. Much more.
Looking to put his own stamp on the squad he inherited halway through the season before, the Burnley boss spotted potential and fostered it; unearthed a rough diamond and polished it.
Arfield shone in the Championship last season, and he is set to sparkle in the Premier League this.
It is unlikely that he will ever go on to command fees or wages like Diego Costa, the £32million man who cancelled out his wonder goal while Turf Moor still reverberated with celebrations.
But what the likeable midfield man offers to the Clarets could prove priceless.
For while multi-millions is what makes the Premier League go round, Arfield’s motivations are more simple and pure – a passion to play football, and be the best that he can be.
Whether that was enhanced by his Huddersfield disappointment, who knows.
But he arrived at Turf Moor with an admirable willingness to work, and to keep working in order to improve.
He has already reaped the rewards of that attitude, and they will keep coming.
If the makers of the late 1990s film Sliding Doors ever considered a sequel then Arfield would be the ideal candidate to take the role played by fellow Scot John Hannah in the tale of two parallel universes.
But it would be more fitting if Arfield’s rise to prominence opened the door to the Scotland squad.
International recognition would prove his musical sacrifice was worth it.
Either way, though, Arfield is hitting all the right notes.