Everton midfielder Jack Rodwell believes Leighton Baines is an increasingly influential member of David Moyes's team.
The England defender's influence is set to grow further at following the departure of dead-ball specialist Mikel Arteta to Arsenal last month.
"He's on penalties, free-kicks and corners - he's an attacking full-back," Rodwell told BBC Radio Merseyside.
"He gets a lot of assists. Last season he was by far our best player."
Kirkby-born Baines, who joined the Toffees for £5m from Wigan in 2007, scored seven goals last term in 44 appearances for the club.
And Rodwell is confident that the 26-year-old can carry his good form into Saturday's meeting with his former employers.
"He's started out well again this season, he scored at the weekend," Rodwell continued.
"He's a great player. Hopefully he'll have a great game against Wigan," added the England Under-21 international.
Baines, who opened his goal scoring account for the season against Aston Villa at the weekend, has become an integral part of the Goodison set up.
He initially struggled to find his best form in Everton colours but is now recognised as one of the most accomplished defenders in the country and is a regular in the England squad.
Rodwell believes the Everton supporters can play their part in helping the club maintain their recent upturn in form.
"We seem to play well at home and I think our support at the weekend [against Aston Villa] was really good.
"But home or away you've got to get the three points," said Rodwell.