Mike Marsh has paid a glowing tribute to Lucas Leiva as he prepares to notch up his 200th Liverpool appearance against West Bromwich Albion on Monday evening, insisting: 'He's the perfect role model.'
The Brazilian's Reds career has by no means been plain sailing since his move from Gremio in 2007 as he took time to adjust to English football and also suffered two long-term injuries in the last 14 months.
However, Lucas is now firmly established as one of the most important members of the Liverpool squad - as well as a favourite on the Kop - and Marsh believes that is testament to the midfielder's strong mentality.
The first-team coach told Liverpoolfc.com: "We all know that Lucas didn't have the easiest of starts to his career at Liverpool, but he responded really well, got himself in the team and was named Player of the Year a couple of seasons ago.
"He picked up a couple of nasty injuries and he's just getting back to his best form now.
"I didn't realise it was coming up to his 200th appearance, but that's the measure of the man and good luck to him on Monday night."
He added: "He offers us a great deal of stability and he's fantastic at protecting the back four. We also realise he is an offensive player when he's on the ball and picks out some great passes. He's balancing the side out quite nicely at the moment."
Lucas initially struggled to find the sort of form that has seen him develop into one of the Barclays Premier League's outstanding midfielders in the last three seasons.
However, the No.21 never shirked the challenge of trying to establish himself at Liverpool - and Marsh believes other players can follow his lead.
"Lucas is by no means a veteran," he said. "He's 26 and has got a lot of games under his belt, but you can see the young lads look up to him.
"He's an important factor in the team, not just because of the way he plays, but also how he conducts himself around the place.
"He's shown a great deal of character. It's never easy to go out and play in front of 45,000 people when you know one or two don't fancy you because you're not playing at your best.
"But he's won the fans over - a little bit like Jordan Henderson has.
"There were one or two who weren't convinced he [Henderson] had the right credentials to play for Liverpool at the level he is, but like Lucas, he's shown everyone if you work hard enough at your game in training and take that into a game, the fans will take to you."