Paul McGrath watched in awe as Manchester United defender Chris Smalling seamlessly made the transition from non-league to UEFA Champions League football in the space of just three years.
The 21-year-old defender impressed in last night's 1-1 draw in Benfica, and has established himself as a central part of United's unbeaten start to the season in all competitions, which includes four wins out of four in the Barclays Premier League.
Smalling has looked comfortable both at centre-half - where he is more familiar - and at right-back for the Red Devils, as Sir Alex Ferguson weighs up his most prominent position.
Either way, McGrath feels his defensive ability is unquestionable, and highlights the manager's ability to continually unearth talent of Smalling's calibre - proving the reason why Manchester United have remained at the very top of the game for so long.
"Smalling, for me, is amazing," he told talkSPORT. "Especially when he takes off with the ball he seems to move so quickly and so easily up the field.
"His reading of the game is brilliant and he is so cool on the ball as well, he just doesn't seem to have a nerve in his body."
The Old Trafford squad is blessed with an array of young up-and-coming talent, with each player having a hunger and desire to succeed. It is something that certainly bodes well for the future of the club.
"There are a few young players like this," McGrath continued. "[Sir Alex Ferguson] seems to bring these players in and they just perform.
"Training with the older players like Rio [Ferdinand] they get used to playing with top players and become top players themselves."
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