He has been compared to Frank Lampard by his national team manager and now David O'Leary is handing out rich platitudes to Steven Davis.
The 20-year-old Northern Ireland and Aston Villa midfielder has been given his chance under O'Leary, who still recalls taking him to Sweden on a pre-season tour, and grabbed it with both hands.
He claimed his first international goal last Saturday against Wales to add to the four he has already racked up for Villa this season. He has shone out like a beacon during Villa's gloomy start to the campaign but faces arguably the toughest examination of the season thus far on Sunday when he locks horns with his Northern Ireland teammate Damien Johnson.
The duo dovetail excellently in the province's midfield, but any friendship will be put to one side in Sunday's Second City derby.
Davis has already tasted the bitter experience of defeat to Birmingham City in the 2-0 defeat at St Andrew's last season, but it will be a far more experienced player who takes to the field on this occasion.
He now has 36 first team appearances behind him and is a integral member of O'Leary's first team.
"If Steven plays well, so do we," said O'Leary. "I can recall saying to Roy Aitken how we had to take him on our pre-season tour as he had really stood out, but he has come on so much since then.
"It hasn't been a flash in the pan and he has made it. He has come into the team, held his own and gone on even further.
"He has done well internationally and I can't speak highly enough of him.
"Davis scored a good goal last weekend for Northern Ireland and we want him to score more goals. I can only find one fault with Steven and that is he is not tall enough. He can sometimes get outmuscled, but he makes use of all the ability he has and is a terrific talent.
"Whether he can keep going all season at this level is another thing, but I do know that he will relish the battle against Birmingham and we all have to do that.
"Last season has gone now and this is a new set of games, so I hope we can do well and win."
O'Leary's glowing reference comes on the back of Northern Ireland manager Lawrie Sanchez's high praise following Davis' well-taken goal against Wales in Belfast at the weekend.
"I told Steven when he came into the team that good midfield players, and there are a lot in the Premiership, can score goals," said Sanchez.
"You've got Frank Lampard as a prime example. I think Steven can go as high as he wants to go in the game and be another Frank Lampard.
"Any manager will tell you that if a midfield player can weigh in with ten goals he will usually get the nod over others.
"Steven's mindset is on scoring and he is a good striker of the ball. There aren't too many out there and Steven is a young lad, playing in a Premiership side as well as the international team and he doesn't look out of place. I saw him play against Chelsea recently and he didn't look out of place there either."
But while O'Leary is positive Davis will play a major role in Sunday's clash, he is less optimistic about the chances of Milan Baros playing in his first Villa-Blues derby.
While Baros spent the entire 90 minutes of the Czech Republic's match against Finland last night on the substitutes' bench, O'Leary has no way of knowing until tomorrow if his premier striker will be available for Sunday after an Achilles injury. And the distinct possibility that Baros will not be available has left O'Leary lamenting the rule book.
"The rules have changed whereby if a player didn't play for you on Saturday you kept them but now they have to be sent to the medical team of their respective countries," said O'Leary.
"Even though you are paying their wages the country can keep them for two weeks, play them for two weeks, flog them into the ground and send them back to you."
Mikael Forssell, the Birmingham striker, played 30 minutes of the match for Finland. The Czech Republic won 3-0 to book a place in the World Cup qualifying play-offs.