McLeish believes the 20-year-old from Worcester should be striving to start even more games for the claret and blues.
"You look at him and he could be a male model but he's got to be an ugly centre-half for us," said McLeish.
"I think he's gone in there with the big guys against Chelsea and Manchester United, coped pretty well and come through it. He must see his recent introduction as a real chance for him. Playing regularly has got to be an ambition and a goal for him.
"If I thought he was too laid-back and he wasn't really bothered I'd be worried, but I'd like to think he's targeting that position to be his own. Why not? It creates healthy competition."