Manchester City manager Mark Hughes believes defender Joleon Lescott can become an "outstanding player".
Lescott joined City in the summer after a controversial move from Everton and has developed a strong partnership with fellow new arrival Kolo Toure.
The Blues have leaked just 11 goals this season, with league leaders Chelsea the only side to have conceded less.
A £24million switch made the 27-year-old the world's third most expensive centre-half, putting pressure on the former Wolves man to justify the huge fee.
But Hughes has praised the England international since his arrival at Eastlands, and is confident he can be at top of his game for many years.
"He's a young player. I've no doubt Joleon will be an outstanding player for many, many years," Hughes told The Sun.
"He has got a real determination to develop. His attitude to work on a daily basis is exemplary."
Hughes' side have not kept a clean sheet in seven games and are without Toure and left-back Wayne Bridge for Wednesday night's Carling Cup clash with Scunthorpe, but the City chief has backed his central duo to become a solid pairing.
"I think Joleon has played well. And the more games he and Kolo play the better they will gel as a pair," he added.
"If you look at the Premier League, only Chelsea have conceded fewer than us and in terms of clean sheets they are again the only team who have kept more than us.
"So I'd suggest there is not that much that we need to put right."