Scott Dann believes Stephen Carr has played an integral role in Birmingham City's rise to prominence.
Carr was officially retired when the Blues came calling 12 months ago, with a string of niggling injuries during his time at Newcastle persuading him to hang up his boots.
Alex McLeish managed to talk the former Republic of Ireland international into a dramatic U-turn, though, with the hard-working full-back penning a short-term deal at St Andrews.
Against all odds, he quickly established himself as a key member of Birmingham's starting XI and ended the 2008/09 campaign by helping the Blues clinch promotion to the Premier League.
That helped to earn the 32-year-old a two-year contract over the summer and he has not looked back since.
He has settled back into life in the top flight with consummate ease and his considerable experience has rubbed off on those around him as Birmingham ended 2009 unbeaten in their last 11 league games.
"Stephen has played in the Premier League his whole career and is still a top player," said fellow defender Dann.
"I think his experience in the Premier League has shown in all the games he has played.
"He reads the game well and, for someone who is maybe getting a little bit older now, he's still as fit as anyone and he's still got the legs to get up and down the pitch.
"He's a good player and good to play with.
"For someone who has played in the Premier League so long, you'd be stupid not to take notice of him and not to pick up things from him.
"I think all the lads do, especially defenders. He is still a winner, he wants to win every game and that's what we need.
"In fact, there are a few more of the experienced lads who have played at the top level all of their career and their experience rubs off on everyone else as well."
Carr, who acts as stand-in skipper when Lee Carsley is not in the side, will return from a one-game suspension for Saturday's home clash with Manchester United.