Elliott Bennett says Christian Walton has matured beyond recognition since the players were team-mates together at Brighton.
Walton is on a season-long loan at Ewood Park from the Seagulls and has kept 12 clean sheets so far this campaign, producing a string of impressive displays since the turn of the year.
Bennett spent two years at Brighton between 2009 and 2011, before returning to the south-coast club on loan from Norwich during the 2014-15 season, where he first came into contact with the talented shot-stopper.
The Rovers skipper says Walton was just a young boy back then, but he believes his loan spells away from the Amex, at the likes of Luton and Wigan, have really helped him to develop, both as a player and a person, and he is now a valued voice in the dressing room.
“He is unrecognisable,” said Bennett. “He gets on with his work, is willing to listen and learn, but he has also got an opinion.
“When I went back on loan to Brighton, he was only a young boy then and sometimes it’s difficult for young players, especially goalkeepers, to kind of impose themselves on senior players in front of them.
“Going out on loan has really helped him; not just as a goalkeeper, but in life. He is a long way from home and playing regularly in the first team is important for a lot of young players, particularly a goalkeeper at such a young age.
“He’s been really good for us. Like any player, you have dips, but across the season, Christian has been a consistent performer for us.”