Done was one of Hill’s first signings as Barnsley manager this summer and the 23-year-old will have a key role in today’s Yorkshire derby against Leeds United at Elland Road.
Only two seasons ago, Done was playing for Hereford United and, according to Hill, his ‘career was going nowhere’.
Now, after a season under Hill at Rochdale and further progress over the last few months at Oakwell, he is being tipped for a bright future.
“I wouldn’t even say I am an established Championship player yet but hopefully, by the end of this season, I will be,” admitted Done. “I think we can achieve a lot this season and I want to repay the faith shown in me by the gaffer.”
Done initially failed to impress Barnsley supporters and was hampered by hamstring trouble but, last weekend, in a 2-0 home victory over Doncaster Rovers, he showed exactly what he can bring to the side this season.
Running at defenders from midfield, his movement and eye for the pass will pose a real problem to many Championship defences.
Hill said: “It’s great to have Matt back firing on all cylinders. We knew he had ability and I never had any doubts about his quality. The doubters were the supporters because they want ‘name’ signings and it is difficult to re-assure supporters that you know what you are doing, especially when you are a new management team.
“Two seasons ago, his career was going nowhere. He had just been released by Hereford but we gave him an opportunity at Rochdale.
“He’s been written off by so many managers, so many times before, but we have always tried to support him through his mistakes as well as the sort of performance he delivered last weekend. Too often, managers and coaches expect players to know everything about football because they are a ‘good player’ but they don’t and they need to be educated in tactics, positional work, and the opposition.
“He can go all the way because he has that essential ingredient – that salt and pepper if you like – pace. He still has a lot to prove – as have David Perkins, Jim McNulty, Rob Edwards and Craig Davies – because they have not really been established players in the Championship.
“He’s still developing as a player but it’s great to be able to do that in the Championship. Two seasons ago, he may have been doing it non-league. I can understand supporters not really endearing themselves to these signings but it is evident now that they can hold their own in the Championship.”
The Tykes, who are five points clear of the relegation zone, are seeking to complete a Yorkshire derby hat-trick after other victories this month against Hull City and Doncaster.
They have won two and drawn two of the last four meetings against Leeds but Hill is expecting a tough challenge.
“Leeds are an excellent side and I am looking forward to the game as if I was playing again,” he said. “We will have to be brave in the way we set up but we have to be mentally professional. If we win, brilliant. If we don’t we are looking over our shoulder again.
“But it’s a 46-game season and I would ask for relative emotional balance over the course of 46 games.”