Stark said: “Kenny will be a big player for us this season.
“Although he’s been recognised as a good player in the last couple of years, I can see an improvement in him in terms of the work-rate he’s done for the team this season.
“He’s got natural ability, of course, but the way he goes about the game now shows a level of maturity and improvement.
“You want players like that. You want them to demand of themselves that they have a huge part to play in every game they take part in.
“That’s an area where I think Kenny has improved this year. He wants to be a big influence in the game.”
Stark has also hinted that fellow St Mirren midfielder John McGinn could follow in McLean’s footsteps soon.
The 18-year-old is enjoying a breakthrough season at Saints, bursting through to the first team and becoming an important player for boss Lennon.
McGinn has been picked for the Scotland Under-19s and joined them in a warm-weather training camp in Turkey last month.
But Stark is keeping a watchful eye on his progress and sees the youngster as a possible Under-21s starlet for the road to the Czech Republic too.
Stark said: “John was born in 1994 and there’s already a really good group of players there that Ricky Sbragia has got with the Scotland Under-19s. If they are good enough, they are old enough.
“When you look at that 19s group there’s Lewis MacLeod, John Herron, Marcus Fraser and even Islam Feruz is a year younger, so there’s a good group of players.
“And they will naturally become Under-21 players once they are finished at 19s.
“The Under-19s play an Elite round for the UEFA European Under-19 Championships in May and if they got to the final that would be July, so in July, or even before that, they would then become available for Under-21 selection.”
Scotland Under-21s kick-off their qualifying games for the Czech Republic next month at St Mirren Park, where Luxembourg will be the visitors to Paisley.
And Stark revealed how some of the Under-19s may well have earned a call-up.
He added: “I may have to use, or may want to use, some of them in the March game.
“Our following game is in September and, by that time, I hope to have a pleasant selection headache.”