The Baggies captain has helped his team to several impressive results since his return from injury.
"He drives the group and we now have about 20 or 21 players of real quality."
Downing told the WBA website: "Brunty's certainly got strong opinions about the game.
"Although he's not particularly loud on the pitch, his presence on the pitch, and how he goes about it and plays, is very good.
"Does he bang heads together? No, but his influence and quality on the pitch means he leads in different ways."