Torquay United boss Paul Cox says wing-back James Hurst's return "will galvanise the younger players".
He came back from an ankle problem to score on his Gulls debut, as they won 3-2 at FC Halifax Town.
"I thought for 45 minutes he was out of this world - the lad's everything I knew he would be," Cox told BBC Devon.
"If we get Louis (Briscoe) and Hursty fully fit it gives us two excellent players at this level that will galvanise and help the youngsters."
Hurst, 23, was the first player to sign after Torquay were taken over by a new consortium in June.
He started his career at West Bromwich Albion and has also had spells at Blackpool, Birmingham, Crawley and Northampton.
"To be fair to Hursty, he's not done anything for the past month and to chuck him in like I did was a bit of a gamble," added Cox.
"I've told him that in the second half he blew a gasket, you could just tell."
Hurst was replaced in the 54th minute by Bayan Fenwick, who was sent off in injury time for two yellow cards.
"He's a passionate kid with undoubted ability but for some reason he's in non-league football, and you could tell why with parts of his game," said Cox.
"He's one of them that needs to grow up really quickly. If we get him in a situation where he understands what it's all about, you've got one hell of a footballer."