Nigel Clough says Derby skipper Richard Keogh has not put a step wrong since joining the club this summer.
Keogh, who arrived from Coventry City in July, has appeared in all 11 of the Rams' games this term, netting two goals.
And Clough expressed admiration for the 26-year-old's displays both on and off the pitch.
"It's as if Richard has been with us for two or three seasons to be honest, in many ways," said Clough.
"From the minute he came in, in fact the second we met him actually, he has settled into life here superbly.
"He hasn't put a foot wrong so far and we're delighted with him; his form has been superb.
"Off the pitch he has slotted into the role as skipper with real ease, working alongside Shaun Barker as club captain - which is very important.
"His form has been of a player who is a veteran of two or three years here and that, we hope, will continue throughout the season."
Clough has also been impressed with Keogh's partnership with Jake Buxton in central defence.
"Richard and Jake have struck up an understanding and when Forest piled us under pressure in the closing stages the other week, they had their heads on absolutely everything that came their way," added Clough.