Norwich boss Daniel Farke always knew James Maddison was something special – but intends to make it a difficult afternoon for the England midfielder when they head to Leicester.
Maddison, 23, has seen his stock rise since joining the Foxes from Norwich in June 2018.
Despite the sale of such a key asset, with the £22.5million helping to balance the books at Carrow Road, Farke was able to guide the Canaries back up into the top flight last season.
Staying there, though, looks a tough ask following another disappointing home defeat against Sheffield United which leaves them second bottom.
Leicester, meanwhile, are flying under Brendan Rodgers as they chase a ninth straight Premier League win to keep within striking distance of leaders Liverpool.
Maddison has proved an integral part of the Foxes squad, helping the supply line to Jamie Vardy, who leads the Premier League scoring charts with 16 goals.
Farke, though, is not surprised by Maddison’s rise, which has seen him linked with a big-money January move to Manchester United.
“From the first day, I realised how special Maddison could be and the praise for him is well deserved,” the Norwich head coach said.
“We had to be patient to have the time to work with him. He always had a great attitude.
“I remember when I first arrived, he was a bit like a kid and we had to build him up, also in his physical terms and tactical understanding of the game.
“Although he was that young, he was always greedy to improve each day.
“He is a confident lad, but also still finds a good balance between being confident, that you have to be in his position, but also being self-critical about wanting to improve your game.”
Farke added: “We were sad when he left us, but sometimes you have to accept that a player’s development is a bit quicker than the club was, and it (sale) was also crucial to keep the club running because of lots of financial pressure.
“It will be great to see him tomorrow, but one thing is for sure, we want to make it as difficult as possible for him.”
Norwich have struggled for consistency after beating Manchester City in September, taking only five points since.
Farke, though, has seen enough to feel positive about the challenges ahead.
“We are the underdog, but if we reduce our mistakes and are good in our attacking play we have a chance wherever we travel,” he said at a press conference reported by the club.
“We have found it easier to get good results against top-class teams so far, instead of teams who like to sit deep and defend.
“We are respectful, but we are not scared. We need an outstanding performance.
“Pressure is on us in every game, so there is not much difference depending on who we play.”
Stay updated with the latest news, gossip and football stories by following us @Football_P