Man Utd's Marcus Rashford has all the attributes of a top player - Southgate
Marcus Rashford leaves Gareth Southgate open-mouthed on the training ground with ability the England manager already puts among the best he has worked with.
It has not even been 19 months since the unknown teenager was thrust into the spotlight in Manchester United's Europa League clash with FC Midtjylland.
Rashford has not looked back since netting a debut brace, going onto win the FA Cup, EFL Cup and Europa League as well as becoming a key part of the national team set-up.
Fast-tracked into the Euro 2016 squad, the 20-year-old is set to pit his wits against Brazil on Tuesday as Southgate continues to tinker with his young, injury-hit side ahead of the World Cup.
"A lot of those appearances have been off the bench,'' the England boss said of a striker who has scored just twice in 14 caps.
"It's amazing really that he's been a player who's been able to dip under the radar as we think so much of him, not only his ability, but his mentality and his maturity.
"He's a very exciting player, but very grounded, wants to improve all the time.
"For me he's going to be a top player. He has all the attributes of the top players I've worked with, but he's still only 20.
"Jose [Mourinho] wouldn't mess around, but he picks him in all the big games and is on the field in nearly every game. Roy [Hodgson] saw the same things.
"We wanted to look after him last summer as we see him as a big part of our future.
"He'll score goals definitely. His technique and his finishing ability are tremendous.
"Quite often we look across at each other in training and raise our eyebrows at some of the things he does. He's a very exciting player.''
Rashford is one of numerous players that fit into the category of young, exciting talents, although he has more experience than many others in that group.
Eric Dier is another with international experience that belies his age, with the 23-year-old captaining his country for the second time when Brazil visit on Tuesday.
It continues an impressive rise since switching Sporting Lisbon for Tottenham, kicking on despite missing out on Southgate's squad heading to the Under-21 European Championship in 2015.
"I had a really good discussion with his dad over his development,'' Southgate said of a player he uses as a "sounding board'' on a tactical level.
"At that time he wanted to focus on establishing himself with Spurs as a centre-back. He felt that was where he'd play in the future, and it still might be I think.
"I agreed with what they wanted to do. As an Under-21 manager you're looking at individual development, and we also had [John] Stones and [Michael] Keane in that squad.
"Eric was still maturing so for me it wasn't a big problem. He'd played a lot of matches for Spurs that season and has gone on to prove himself.
"He came back to the Under-21s the following season with Calum Chambers, and was up with Roy soon after that.
"The pathway of a young player is never straightforward.''