Aberdeen star James Maddison was on the verge of signing for Arsenal or Liverpool last season, before injury denied him a transfer, according to Steven Pressley.
The former Coventry star has joined Aberdeen on loan from Norwich and was handed his chance in the game at the age of just 17 when Pressley was manager of Coventry.
The teenager was quickly identified by a number of England’s top clubs, with the player also featuring as part of Scout feature last year.
Maddison netted a long-range free-kick in the Premiership match against Rangers at Pittodrie on Sunday to ensure Derek McInnes’s side beat Mark Warburton’s team 2-1 and moved up to second spot in the league table.
His sensational effort, which was screened by Sky Sports, came as no surprise to former Scotland centre-half Pressley, who is still tipping the youngster to make the move to the Premier League in the coming seasons.
“It’s what James is capable of,” he told The Herald. “He was one of those players who was always staying behind at training to work his technical skills, free-kicks being one of them. It’s something he’s more than capable of doing. But he’s developed that ability through persistence and practice.
“He was 16 when I joined Coventry, but he was a player who we identified very early on as being a very special talent who had a big future. We worked very hard with him. He had to endure washing our cars, finding out what it took to be a successful player, to make your way in the world.
“But he was a young lad with a degree of belief about himself. He isn’t arrogant, but he has a confidence in his abilities. He comes from a good family and has very supportive parents. He is just a really good kid. I am delighted to see him beginning to do so well at Aberdeen.”
Maddison was signed by Norwich back in February for a fee believed to be in the region of £2million before being loaned back to home town club Coventry for the second half of the season by his new manager Alex Neil.
He played for Norwich in a 6-1 win over Coventry in the Capital One Cup last month. However, he sensed his first-team opportunities would be limited with Wes Hoolahan, Steven Naismith and Alex Pritchard all in the squad and jumped at the opportunity to move to Aberdeen on loan for the first half of the 2016/17 campaign in order to develop further as a player.
“That is James for you,” said Pressley. “He is a player who wants to play every week. The majority of top players like to play in every minute of every game. James is very much like that. He wants to play, he wants to win.”