Over the past few months, more has been written about Huddersfield Town in the press - both domestically and otherwise - than is likely to have ever been the case in the past.
What the club have achieved hasn't been lost on anyone, and certain narratives have emerged from that coverage: David Wagner is quite rightly being discussed as one of the most promising young coaches in the game, Aaron Mooy is being highlighted for his undeniable class in the heart of midfield and Dean Hoyle is finally getting the recognition his commitment to the club has warranted for some time now.
That said, however, one man who hasn't quite had the same volume of admiration in wider circles is Christopher Schindler, despite being the man who volunteered to take the telling penalty in Huddersfield's marathon play-off final victory. Flying under the radar with minimal fuss, you get the impression that's exactly how he wants it.
Schindler is much the same off the field as he is on it: considered in what he says and does, not a man to appear flustered and constantly in quiet control of the situation, without feeling the need to make a song and dance about it.
Having been at 1860 Munich long enough to become the face of the side, he doesn't appear to be a man who's particularly adverse to pressure. While it took him a game or two to fully find his feet in the Championship, he never allowed himself to become a concern, and quickly found the sort of form that rightly had him in the conversation for best central defender in the division. Not the type of man to impose himself by being the loudest or most animated, he leads by action, instead, and sets a standard and example that the rest of the team have little option but to follow.
He has, in truth, made the transition from Championship to Premier League look absolutely effortless. If anything, the increased time the ball spends on the floor, rather than being hoofed through the air, suits his cultured approach to the game far better. We saw as much against West Ham, when their direct approach to attacking in the driving rain caused him the most discomfort he's experienced since making the step up, but it didn't take him all that long to brush himself down and contest Andy Carroll in the air as best he could.
Few sides in the Premier League play with the same lack of finesse and ambition than West Ham did on that occasion, so it's not exactly a facet of his game we should be particularly worried about going forwards.
Far from the fastest, biggest, strongest or more skillful central defenders in the division, what Schindler banks on most is his intelligence, fitness and mental rigidity. Not the sort of player you catch making last ditch tackles all that often, his proactive nature helps him avert danger before it has fully emerged. One well worn cliche is to describe centre halves as firefighters, but Schindler rarely allows the problems ahead of him progress that far - if other players are fighting fires, he's stubbing out the initial embers with the sole of his shoe. It takes a special class of footballer to be able to do that, but it would be a disservice to Schindler to suggest he's anything other than that good at what he does.
Even with a change in defensive partner, Schindler still remains the silent leader of Huddersfield's defence. While it made sense that Michael Hefele would somewhat fall in line next to his compatriot, Mathias Zanka is an international who's played significant minutes in the Champions League, but he defers to Schindler in a similar manner. A calming influence on those around him, as well as those of us in the stands, he is a figure beyond his years, and while discussion of maturity and attitude may seem somewhat condescending, it speaks volumes that his teammates are just as quick to sing his praises as we are.
Any accusation of bias on our behalf looks far less credible when Schindler is directly compared against the finest defenders in the league, because his statistics speak for themselves. Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham currently occupy the top four places in the division, so when singled out against John Stones, Eric Bailly, David Luiz and Toby Alderweireled - all of whom have either played five or six matches in the league this season - the expectation may be that Schindler fails to boast competitive metrics, but that simply isn't the case. While his passing isn't nearly as accurate or often as the others, the only player he hasn't been as strong in the air as is Eric Bailly, while he actually leads the pack in blocks, clearances and tackles won per game. WhoScored, a football analysis site built entirely on the want for statistical insight, currently have him in their Premier League team of the season.
Just while we're here, it's worth keeping in mind that John Stones cost Manchester City the best part of £50m from Everton last season, Eric Bailly moved to Manchester United in the same summer for a fee closer to £30m, and Chelsea paid PSG a reported £34m to get their man back, having sold him for £50m just two years earlier. It's only Toby Alderweireld - who's widely regarded as the single best central defender in the country - that can be described as a bargain in good conscious, with Spurs parting with £11.5m to steal the Belgian from under Southampton's nose. Having cost what was at the time a club record £1.6m, it's quite frankly ridiculous that we're even having this conversation about Christopher Schindler, but such is his form that we've been left with no other option but to.
Still just 27-years-old, we've the privilege of seeing Schindler in his early prime, with room yet to grow and improve as a footballer. While his coach has been quick to downplay talk of his international class, he's simply managing expectation, attempting to keep the spotlight off the strongest areas of his squad, whilst maintaining the underdog attitude and identity that helped propel Huddersfield in to the position they now find themselves. His time at 1860 has prepared him well for life at Town, as he knows what it is to be a leader of a smaller side with an intense fan base, and that off field comfort has only contributed to his success.
If anything, Schindler is a victim of his citizenship where international football is concerned, but carry on as he is and those links to the German national side will become increasingly less surreal. While there's little chance of displacing Mats Hummels or Jerome Boateng from the side, there are far worse places to accolade a squad position, should one be going. Perversely, there's no doubt that had his Grandparents once had a layover in Dublin, driven through Belfast, had a coffee in Cardiff or spent a week at the Edinburgh Fringe that he'd be getting a call-up, but the reality is that he was born in one of the finest footballing nations on the planet, and their choices are someone stacked, to say the least.
Some may be hesitant of heaping on too much praise too soon, and while it remains unavoidably true that five games aren't enough to define a career at the highest level, it would be dishonest to suggest that Schindler looks like doing anything but improving at this stage in time. Becoming increasingly aware of the league, the football played in it and what's expected of him against the type of quality forward he'll now be facing on a weekly basis, Schindler is not the type of man or player to shirk responsibility or settle.
This coming Saturday sees Harry Kane visit the John Smith's, in what is by far Huddersfield's most complex defensive test of the season. Perform well in that sort of fixture, against that level of opponent, and it won't be long before it's more than just us talking about how great Christopher Schindler is. Until then, savour the time he remains just our little secret.
You can follow Raj Bains on Twitter over on @BainsXIII , and his Huddersfield Town book Underdog is being published later in 2017. It is available to order now, with the opportunity to have the name of your choice printed in a fans list at the back of the book. Please visit www.gnbooks.co.uk or call 01274 735056.