Chris Hughton has hailed Fabricio Coloccini, believing he has arguably been Newcastle's most consistent player this term.
The 28-year-old struggled to adapt in his first season in English football following his big money move to St James' Park from Deportivo la Coruna during the summer of 2008.
But he has since proved his worth as the Magpies bounced back to the top flight at the first time of asking, while also putting in good performances this term, including snatching a last-gasp equaliser against Wigan last time.
Hughton said: "He is having a wonderful season so far. Last season, he was certainly one of our better players in a good season, and what he has been able to do is take that form into this season, and it has been important.
"With Steven Taylor being injured and having brought Sol Campbell in and seen him miss the games he has missed through being injured and with Mike Williamson in his first season in the Premier League, Fabricio has been a vital player for us, and we hope that continues.
"I am a great believer that if you are a player who works hard enough at your game, are confident enough about your own ability and try to do all the right things, you stand in good stead to improve yourself as a player.
"He has been arguably our most consistent player this season."
Central defensive partner Mike Williamson also hailed Coloccini, saying: "He is one of the most laid-back players I have ever played with. His quality on the ball is just unbelievable.
"Playing alongside him is not difficult because he is a world-class player.
"He has got everything in his game - he can head it, he can tackle, he can play. He has got the full package."
Hughton believes this season is a learning experience for the club and the Magpies - who next take on West Ham on Saturday - will get stronger as the season progresses.
He said: "We are a club that is just back into the Premier League and we are learning with every game.
"We have got players who are adjusting to this division and learning with every game, so I don't want to look at too many negatives. There are plenty of positives to look at.
"Whichever games we go into, they are all big games. We play at West Ham on Saturday, we have Arsenal [in the Carling Cup] on the Wednesday and then of course the big derby game [against Sunderland] on the Sunday.
"They are all big games in this division and we have just got to make sure we go about our business the best way we can in all of them."