James Milner has been praised after his match winning display helped Manchester City struggle into the fourth round of the FA Cup with a 2-1 win over Championship side Sheffield Wednesday.
The England man netted two late goals on his 29th birthday to seal City's place in the next round of the cup, and was quickly praised by manager Manuel Pellegrini and teammate Jesus Navas.
City had fallen behind in the first half, but a late double from Milner saved their blushes against a team they'd beaten 7-0 in the League Cup earlier this season.
Milner has been used out of position as a makeshift centre forward in recent weeks and finally found his scoring touch when City needed it most.
With the clock ticking on City's FA Cup campaign the birthday boy slid a shot through the Wednesday keepers legs to pull his side level before tapping home from close range in the dying minutes to seal the win.
After the game Pellegrini and Navas were full of praise for the midfielder whose whole-hearted displays have helped City draw level with Chelsea at the top of the Premier League.
With City trailing Pellegrini introduced Samir Nasri and David Silva as second half substitutes, pushing Milner into the false nine position he occupied over the Christmas period.
During his three-game run in the position Milner failed to find the net, but Pellegrini was delighted to see his man finally rewarded for his displays.
"He is very useful for the team. In the last game (against Sunderland) I think that I brought Milner on when we had one minute to finish the game and in that time he made more than a lot of players," he told Manchester Evening News.
"He didn't score but he always plays with 100 per cent intensity and 100 per cent commitment, so I'm very happy about him because it's his birthday."
Such is Milner's commitment to the cause, he's decided to learn Spanish in an attempt to communicate with a number of team-mates, and Navas stressed the importance of unity among the squad.
The Spanish international said: "He speaks really good Spanish now – and he is a really nice guy."
Navas, who set up Milner's late winner, added: "He is a very important player, because above all of his qualities he works really hard, and that makes him a good example for the rest of the team.
"We have a positive atmosphere here, but not just because there are many Spanish-speaking players, but also because we train together every day, and travel together. It is a strong group, not just the Spanish players.”
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