Southampton and England winger Adam Lallana believes Luke Shaw is even better than Real Madrid superstar Gareth Bale was at the age of 18.
Lallana played with Bale, who at £86m became the most expensive player in football history last summer, during the early years of their respective careers - but the Saints star believes his current teammate can become another great following his call-up to the England national team.
“He’s an outstanding talent and one of the best - probably the best - player I’ve ever seen at 18,” Lallana told reporters. “He’s won plaudits and gained recognition, and he’s good enough to be here today.
“When Gareth was playing with us we were in the Championship.
“For Luke, at 18, to be playing for us against some of the best wingers in the world, that’s credit to him.
“I’m really excited for him. He’s done unbelievably for us.”
Shaw is in contention to make his England debut against Denmark at Wembley on Wednesday night after earning his first call-up and could secure a place in Roy Hodgson’s final 23-man squad for this summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil ahead of Chelsea’s out-of-favour full-back Ashley Cole.
Shaw has also been tipped to succeed the ageing Cole at Chelsea this summer, although Manchester United are also keen to sign the teenage full-back as a long-term replacement for Patrice Evra, while Manchester City are interested too.
The Premier League trio, however, will need to offer around £30m to tempt Southampton into selling their best young player.