Bradley Dack admits he knew Rovers had a high-quality footballer on their hands from Lewis Holtby's first day at the club.
Rovers signed the German international on a free transfer in mid-September, after the midfielder had left Hamburg at the end of last season.
He has gone on to make 18 appearances in Rovers colours, scoring three goals, including two in the thumping 5-0 victory away to Sheffield Wednesday in January.
Dack insists he was immediately impressed with the 29-year-old’s all-round attributes, saying it was evident in training that he had played at the very highest level.
“Obviously he had a name, coming from Tottenham,” said Dack, who has spent time in the treatment room with Holtby over recent months.
“He played in that Tottenham team with Gareth Bale and Jermain Defoe, players like that.
“So he had a reputation anyway. Then he went back to Germany and played for Schalke and Hamburg, and then out of nowhere really we signed him.
“Those first few days in training, I think you can tell a lot about a player. First impressions last.
“When he first came in, those first few training sessions, you could just tell that he’d played at a high level.
“A bit like Stewy Downing. You could tell he’d played in the Champions League and the Premier League and the Bundesliga.
“He’s just really neat and tidy. He doesn’t give the ball away very often. He’s a really fit and lean athlete.
“And the main thing that I noticed was his passing. He doesn’t give the ball away and he knows where to pass it. He’s got pictures in his head. Everything you could ask for in a centre midfielder.”