Steve Bruce was full of praise for Curtis Davies after the Hull captain left the KC Stadium on Saturday with a nasty injury and clean sheet to his name.
Davies signed for the Tigers for Â£2.25million in the summer and has proved an instant success courtesy of a handful of powerful performances at the back.
He was at his best in the goalless Barclays Premier League draw against Aston Villa, fronting up in a physical contest with Czech striker Libor Kozak and coming out on top to be named man of the match.
As well as Kozak, Davies had to guard against the pace of Gabriel Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann and led the back line well enough to give goalkeeper Allan McGregor only one real save to make.
The only down side on his day was an aerial clash with Kozak that left both men nursing head injuries.
Davies, for once, came off second best and posted a picture on Twitter showing a badly swollen eye and cut that requires several stitches.
"Looks like I've taken a few left/right/lefts from @AnthonyfJoshua", Davies wrote, referring to Great Britain's Olympic champion boxer.
Bruce was delighted with the player's quality and bravery in a match that otherwise had minimal talking points.
"Sometimes a centre-back doesn't get the recognition he deserves, but he really was a proper captain in this match. He was terrific," said Bruce, a long-serving member of the defenders' union from his playing days.
"He has a horrible, horrible cut now, a really nasty one. It's a cut over the eye but a bad one which is down to the bone. It might need internal stitches too.