JAY Rodriguez has signed up to the Gareth Barry Appreciation Society - adding his voice to a chorus of acclaim for the veteran midfielder.
The former Manchester City man’s faultless form helped Albion extend their unbeaten run to eight games with a 2-0 win over Wigan on Boxing Day.
J-Rod insists Barry is a “legend” of the game and the smartest footballer he’s ever played alongside.
“Gaz is someone you look up to as a player,” admits Rodriguez.
“You watch him in training and just bounce off the little ideas that he has.
“Even in games I’m always trying to learn from him because I think he’s a legend of the game.
“You can see how important he is, the way he is, his brain - he’s probably the cleverest player I’ve played with.
“He’s someone that, as a group of lads, we all appreciate massively.
“He’s unreal and it’s a pleasure to play with him.”
Rodriguez believes the secret to Sky Bet Championship success is to “treat every game as a fresh challenge". A theory he hopes will carry Albion to a fourth-successive victory, against Sheffield Wednesday at The Hawthorns on Saturday.
“We know how massive three points are in this league so, for us, if we can just keep taking it week-by-week, game-by-game, then that’s the real focus,” he added.
“We’re not naive enough to think automatic promotion is an easy thing to achieve. It’s a tough league and there are some really tough teams in it.
“Wednesday are a great side and we will continue to work hard and put things in place.
“Every team in this league is dangerous and we don’t underestimate anyone.
“That’s the key in this league, to treat every game as a fresh challenge.
“We’ll do everything we can to do what we do.”