The winger has featured regularly for Aitor Karanka's side in the Championship this season after spells on loan with Shrewsbury Town and Bradford City last season.
Friend told the Shields Gazette: "At the moment he's been our best player, him and Grant Leadbitter, Grant has been excellent as well. But Reachy, playing just in front of me, you just give him the ball and he's producing, he's got end product and works hard coming back, which I like as well because it helps me!
"You can see there's a confidence about him, in training he's been getting the ball down and whipping crosses in. Maybe a few years ago he might have been a bit more tentative but he's very confident and very talented.
"Maybe this manager's given him confidence because he's played him and played him and played him. I hope he stays because there's been a lot of speculation about him. He can play in the Premier League as can a lot of our players and that's why we need to keep working hard."