Newcastle boss Alan Pardew hailed Leon Best after seeing him take over Andy Carroll's mantle to plunder a hat-trick against West Ham.
The 24-year-old, who had not scored in 14 previous appearances for the Magpies, deputised more than ably for the injured Carroll and Shola Ameobi to help fire the club into eighth place in the Barclays Premier League table.
He said: "Leon had been knocking on my door for the last two weeks telling me he hasn't really had an opportunity. I spoke to him and said, 'You have been here a year and there are no assist, no goals - what is there for us to keep about you?'."
Pardew added: "He kept telling me he could do it, and he has proved that. He had an opportunity, somewhat fortunately, because he wasn't due to start.
"He has a good cameo at Wigan and he was definitely going to come on at some stage, but Shola pulled out on the morning of the game.
"I called him with the news about 10.30am and he couldn't wait, I could tell on the phone. It was a brilliant night for him and he deserves it."
A first defeat in five games sent West Ham back to the foot of the table, but manager Avram Grant is confident they will bounce back from a disastrous night in the north east.
He said: "I don't like the game, I don't like the performance, I don't like how we played, but in football, that happens. Sunderland lost here 5-1 and afterwards, they have won many games, so it happens.
"It was a bad day at the office. Everything we tried to do was not good - not the desire, not the effort, not passing the ball well, putting pressure on the other team.
"But those are things we did very well in the games before, so we need to continue."
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