Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino has told The Guardian that he scouted Dele Alli personally a year ago, months before agreeing a deal to sign him.
Alli netted his first competitive goal for Spurs at the weekend against Leicester City in a 1-1 draw.
The teenager looks accomplished enough to play in the top flight and is not over-awed by the jump from League One to the Premier League.
Pochettino said he watched Alli in action in the League Cup last season and was highly impressed.
He said: "Last season I went to see him against Manchester United in the Capital One Cup and it was 4-0: he played centre midfield and was a 17-year-old playing like a 30-year-old and this is his best quality."
The result was a humiliating night for United; while Alli showed in pre-season he was not afraid to embarrass even Real Madrid, nutmegging former Spurs star Luka Modric.
So early into his Tottenham career, Alli is putting forward already a compelling case to start key matches.
It was a little of a surprise even that he began the campaign on the substitute's bench given his impressive pre-season showings, while his goal at the weekend shows he can influence games at the top level.
More chances beckon and Alli has shown already he is ready when called upon. Pochettino may have realised that a year ago, even if he is remaining cautiously patient regarding the talented midfielder.