Southampton forward Adam Lallana has enhanced Luke Shaw's glowing reputation by comparing the 18 year old to Gareth Bale – as Chelsea and Manchester United continue to be linked with the England Under-21 international.
Shaw earned his maiden call-up to the England senior squad for the friendly against Denmark following a stunning 18 months in the Saints first team, raising hopes of a potential call-up for the summer's World Cup finals in Brazil.
The full-back is the latest talent off the St Mary's production line which has also included Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott, Bale and Lallana himself, and the twice capped England international says Shaw trumps them all at the same age.
"He's got such a level head on his shoulders and is so grounded," said Lallana.
"Luke wouldn't for one minute have thought he'd be involved in the senior team but he's an outstanding talent and one of the best, probably the best player I've ever seen at 18. He's won plaudits and gained recognition, and he's certainly good enough to be here today.
"It's hard to compare him with the others: Gareth's gone on and never looked back. I know Gareth did play left-back as well, so there are similarities there, but I wouldn't want to put too much pressure on Luke.
"He's done unbelievably for us this season. When Gareth was playing with us we were in the Championship.
"For Luke, at 18, to be playing so consistently well for us against some of the best wingers in the world, that's credit to him and his attitude and how he keeps his feet on the ground.
"Nothing fazes him and I'm really excited to hopefully see him get some minutes on Wednesday."
While Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain went on to join Arsenal, Bale moved to Tottenham Hotspur in 2007 before sealing a world-record £85m move to Real Madrid in the summer transfer window.
Amid Shaw's rapid rise from the Southampton academy to a central figure under Mauricio Pochettino on the south coast, both Chelsea and United have been heavily linked with signing the England Under-21 international.
Shaw penned a new five-year deal in the summer but both Chelsea and United are expected to be in the market for a new full-back with their trust in Ashley Cole and Patrice Evra having wavered this season.
David Moyes' continued pursuit of Everton's Leighton Baines is an indication as to United's desire to lure a new left-back to Old Trafford while Cole has been marginalised in the Chelsea team by Jose Mourinho with Cesar Azpilicueta preferred instead.
Both Baines and Cole have been mainstays of Roy Hodgson's England squad throughout the qualifying campaign for the World Cup, but Shaw's inclusion in the final squad before Brazil suggests the Southampton youngster could force his way in.