Melbourne City prodigy Daniel Arzani has the key ingredient to become a superstar – but he's not there yet, warns the boss of Manchester City's global football network.
The Iranian-born 19-year-old winger has lit up the A-League this year after bursting off the bench to run at rival defences and send expectations soaring.
He didn't even play a single hour last season, but after just over a dozen starts for City this season (and three more off the bench), he is already being touted as a future Socceroos star and tipped to go to Russia 2018.
Now he's attracted the attention of Melbourne City's parent company City Football Group and UK-based managing director of City Football Services, Brian Marwood.
"He has an X-Factor," said Marwood after watching the teenager train at City's Football Academy complex in Bundoora.
"What he doesn't have – like most youngsters don't have – is consistency right now, which you wouldn't expect at that age because of his lack of opportunities.
"But he does things on the football pitch that are special, that are game changing moments.
"And if he continues to develop and he continues to listen to the right influences around him, I really think he could be a really strong, iconic player for Melbourne City and for the Australian national team for sure.
"I think he's very, very special."
Arzani has already been over to Manchester CIty and trained with the U18s squad two years ago, prompting speculation he could follow in Aaron Mooy's footsteps to sign for the Sky Blues in the Premier League.
"Why not?" said Marwood. "He didn't look out of place a couple of years ago.
"But this is the right place for him to be [right now]. A few months ago he had cramping issues because he's never played at this level regularly.
"We're expecting a lot from him. He expects a lot from himself. He is a really interesting kid as a personality...but like any young ones, you have to be careful with their development.
"It's going to be a rollercoaster. But that's the same with with any young kid coming through and we have to just make sure that we're managing him in the right way."
Marwood added: "If he continues to do what he's doing, I would expect him to be in the A-League next year and then when we feel it's the right time and he feels it's the right time...
"He has an ambition to be playing in Europe. We want to try and help him fulfil that ambition."
Marwood said the Socceroos call-up speculation was understandable given his spectacular talent but it had heaped pressure on Arzani.
"He's one of the most exciting young players that the country has seen, but we have to manage that and we have to manage him," he said.
"And it's just keeping some sense of normality to it but the same time, just keeping working hard to develop him. Every day, you see him train and he's training hard.
"He's doing everything he can to be the best player he possibly can be...and that's great."