Middlesbrough star Jonathan Woodgate is tipping David Wheater for the top after his impressive start to the new season.
Wheater has been forced into duty after injuries ruled the likes of Woodgate, Robert Huth and Emanuel Pogatetz out for the start of the season.
The Redcar-born stopper has impressed hugely in the opening three games and has also earned a place in the England Under-21 squad.
Woodgate is not surprised by the performances of his fellow Teessider.
"Everyone knew he could do it," Woodgate told Sky Sports News.
"When he went on loan to Darlo [Darlington] last season it did him the world of good.
"When he played against Fulham on the last day of last season, I told him it would be a big year for him this year."
Woodgate himself is battling back to fitness following knee surgery in the summer and he admits it has been frustrating.
"There is nothing worse, all the lads are buzzing and we are in the gym slogging away, it is never nice," he said.
"It is a bombshell that all the lads got injured, but the lads have come in and done well."