Claude Puel has described Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg as representing Southampton's "future" after revealing club insiders spoke about the midfielder with his mentor Pep Guardiola.
Hojbjerg could start for Southampton against his former manager Guardiola's Manchester City in Saturday's Premier League fixture, facing him for the second time since they both came to England.
Their presence here comes after Guardiola managed him at Bayern Munich, where he felt the Dane could become a midfielder of the highest calibre, and where he dedicated significant time towards nurturing his talent.
The competition provided by Philip Lahm, Thiago Alcantara, Xabi Alonso, Bastian Schweinsteiger and others ultimately prevented him from becoming a regular starter at Bayern.
He then in the summer he joined Southampton for £12.8million, shortly after Guardiola's arrival at City, and has shown in flashes of the ability that caught the Spaniard's eye and which Puel believes will become central to his team.
"Guardiola likes good, technical players, and Pierre's a technical player, intelligent, and there's a good feeling with this player, it's important to have this profile on his team," said the Southampton manager.
"I like this profile also: for me it's the future for Southampton.
"Of course (he'll become an important player for Southampton). It's a young player, 21. It's very, very young. We forget that he's just this age.
"It's important he continues to improve, develop, and make progress. It's interesting for his first season in the Premier League, with what he can do since the beginning of the season.
"(After October's 1-1 draw at City) the directors spoke with Guardiola about Pierre. Just about the quality of Pierre."