Elliot begun this season as Newcastle’s third choice goalkeeper, but an injury crisis has provided him with an opportunity in their first team and he has never looked back.
The former Charlton Athletic stopper has been one of Newcastle’s most reliable performers ever since stepping into the team back in October.
And McClaren said: "He is turning into a leader. We spoke after one game and talked about half-times and the importance of leadership and he was terrific.
“While we were tactically doing things, he was showing leadership. And the rest followed on from that."
Elliot was provided with his chance in Newcastle’s side when Tim Krul picked up an injury on international duty and Karl Darlow was sidelined.
There were initial fears over whether he would be able to cope, but the 29-year-old has proven his quality.
Even McClaren admitted to the Daily Mirror that he felt Krul’s absence would cost his team 20 points this season, but Elliot has proven his value.
The Irish stopper has played a starring role in recent victories over Bournemouth, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur and he has become a trusted figure at St. James’ Park.