It’s no wonder Chris Hughton speaks so highly of Wade Elliott – because he’s the perfect employee.
Hard-working, versatile, educated and naturally gifted are all traits you would associate with the Blues attacker.
But it’s Elliott’s reliabilty that gives him the edge over many of his peers.
In the past five seasons the 32-year-old only missed a handful of games for his former club Burnley.
That included an ever-present Premier League campaign and a 56-game season when he helped guide the Clarets to the top flight.
Keeping himself in immaculate physical condition has helped over the years but the main reason behind his impressive appearance record is his determination to succeed.
“I want to get the very most out of my career,” he said. “I was 21 when I came out of Non-League, which is quite late for a footballer.
“It’s made me want to squeeze every moment and every last ounce out of it which is why coming here to Birmingham is a new chapter for me.
“I remember coming on for my Bournemouth debut and thinking to myself ‘I’m a professional footballer now and no-one can ever take that away from me’. “On the back of that, I feel really fortunate to have been in the game for so long since that, let alone getting to a decent level.
“It’s the best job in the world and that’s been my take on it from the word go.”
In 11 years as a professional Elliott has averaged at 47 appearances per season. Training hard and looking after his body has also minimised the amount of time he has spent on the treatment table throughout his career.
“I’ve been fortunate with injuries and I’ve looked after myself,” he added. “I don’t want to jinx it but that gives you a fighting chance if you can stay clear of injuries.