Lydiate has been in inspirational form during Wales' RBS 6 nations campaign and along with Warburton and Dragons teammate Toby Faletau form a formidable backbone to the Wales pack.
His work in the darker arts of the rucks and mauls may go unnoticed by the general public but not by the Welsh management.
"Dan is a definitely an unsung hero," Gatland said. "There is not a lot flashy about him. He does a lot of the donkey work to make the others look good and you need those type of people.
"They are the glue that holds everything together. He is probably a little bit in the same mould that Richard Hill was with England when England were going so well. People used to say how important he was to the team.
"Dan is a great athlete, a great professional, and he is important for us."
Warburton echoed Gatland's sentiments, adding: "I think if you asked anybody in the squad who they thought the three most important players were, I think Dan would come up in a lot of the answers.
"He is thought of very highly among the players. He is one of our form players, definitely an unsung hero and a key man in this campaign. His work in defence is second to none."