Aston Villa skipper Gareth Barry has won high praise from manager Martin O'Neill for his performances this season.
The 26-year-old midfielder has scored nine goals this term and is challenging for a return to the England fold, with the full backing of O'Neill.
He said after the 3-0 weekend win over Sheffield United: "I thought there were a number of great performances on Saturday, but Gareth Barry was absolutely outstanding.
"I knew he could play a number of positions and I'm talking big now, but his performance on Saturday was up with those boys who play or England.
"He's the heartbeat of this football club. Heartbeat is the operative word, he's got fantastic heart, but he's also got great ability and that showed on Saturday."