Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton says winger Kazenga LuaLua has earned his new long-term contract with the club - and he is now looking forward to working with him once again, having seen him fulfil his potential with the Seagulls.
LuaLua, who worked with Hughton during his time at Newcastle United, signed his deal this week and the Albion boss wants to see his progress continue once he returns to fitness.
Hughton said, "Anybody who signs the length of deal that Kaz has, it is because they deserve it and they have shown enough and have a value that the club wants to protect.
"The intentions of the club are very good; contract talks had been going on for a while, so it’s certainly not about me coming through the front door. He is one that the club have identified as a player they want to keep and has a great value to the club.
"It is obviously pleasing for me [to have seen him develop since his time at Newcastle]. He is an explosive player. He is a player that has qualities on the ball that are different to other players. I am looking forward to working with him and him returning."
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Hughton says he hasn't put any timescale on LuaLua's return to fitness, but when he does return he will still have to show the new manager what he can do.
"I look at his development, and now what he has is the opportunity to become the best player that he can. I worked with him a few years ago, when he was in the development group. This is the first opportunity I've had to work with him at close quarters.
"He's another one that I want to show me the abilities that he's got and show that he's very much a team player.
"He’s a powerful player; he’s certainly a player that can shoot from outside the box, that has really good power and he can go past players. It’s always good to have that."