Torquay United manager Kevin Nicholson says on-loan Port Vale defender Nathan Smith has shown 'freakish' ability so far this season.
The 19-year-old, who has been an ever present since joining in the summer, extended his deal until the end of the season earlier this month.
"He's a monster," Nicholson told BBC Sport. "He's a freak of nature really.
"He's a young lad that barely says a word and then just goes about his stuff every day to the level I expect."
Smith, who had never played a first-team game before being signed by Nicholson's predecessor as Torquay boss Paul Cox, has impressed in recent weeks alongside skipper Angus MacDonald.
"All I've ever seen him do is everything he can to win and do well," added Nicholson. "He's not a leader in the sense that he shouts and bawls and screams at people. But he's a leader in the sense that he comes in every day, looks after himself, does all his extras and works ridiculously hard in training.
"When people do that, it transfers on the pitch, and that's exactly how he plays."