Alex McLeish has praised the attitude and commitment of Birmingham winger Sebastian Larsson, even though he could quit the club in the summer.
Larsson's current deal runs out in June and McLeish says other players he has worked with entitled to leave on a Bosman transfer have "downed tools", but he insists the midfielder's approach has never changed and he scored the opening goal in Saturday's 2-0 win over Sunderland at St. Andrew's.
McLeish said: "We were close to losing Seb in January but I didn't want him to go. That boy has restored my faith in players because I have seen players before on a Bosman put their tools away.
"But he has defied that and done magnificently. I can't speak more highly of the guy. He has not only been a top quality player but his attitude and commitment to the cause has been first class.
"He has been a revelation. This guy has gone right up in my estimation. What a hero he is for the Birmingham cause."
McLeish is still hoping Larsson will sign a new contract with Blues and extend his five-season spell.
He said: "Seb said to me he has not made up his mind and he has not ruled out staying. He told me that to my face the other day."