If there is one player who has surely done that, then Antonio Valencia is the man.
When he signed for Manchester United from Wigan for £17 million in 2009 he had the biggest of shoes to fill, Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.
Valencia has proved a rightful heir on the right flank at Old Trafford, but in a completely different way.
Ronaldo is full of tricks, flicks, and likes to switch inside at any given opportunity. Valencia is a more unselfish player, who prefers to stay out wide, and is full of direct running without the flashy bits.
Last season at times the Ecuadorian was magnificent, scoring four times and providing an incredible 14 assists. When he was left out of United's title decider with City it was seen as a key tactical mistake by Ferguson.
If United had won the league, no player would have deserved it more than Valencia, whose form was seen as the key reason behind United's surge to catch up and overtake City in the first place.
When he came to the club he was seen as very much a young talent, who had the ability to develop from a squad player - despite the high price - into a key man.
This year he showed he has reached the level that he aspired to, and he will be a key man for United next season.
With the iconic number 7 shirt vacant in light of Michael Owen's departure, there is a big question over who will take the honour.
New signing Shinji Kagawa was tipped to wear it, but he has said he wants to earn his stripes at Old Trafford and make a name for himself on his terms. Fair enough, it's a good attitude to have.
Valencia - United's Player of the Year - has done that, and it's time to reward him by asking him to say goodbye to the number 25 and step up to take the number 7.
Who do you think should wear the number 7? Will United make a big signing who could wear it?
image: © Magnus D