Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes reckons the success achieved by James Maddison since his loan spell with the Dons will encourage more players to make the move to Pittodrie in the future.
Maddison, who could make his England debut against Croatia on Friday, spent the first half of the 2016-17 campaign on loan at the Dons from Norwich.
A last-minute free kick winner against Rangers was the highlight of a fruitful spell in Scotland before Maddison returned to Carrow Road to push for a place in the first team.
After being named Norwich’s player of the year for the 2017-18 season, Maddison made a £20 million move to Leicester City and has made an impressive start in the English Premier League with three goals in eight games earning him a place in Gareth Southgate’s squad for their upcoming Uefa Nations League matches.
McInnes knows the 21-year-old’s ascent will do no harm to his own recruitment aims.
He said: “I think James will fly the flag for Aberdeen in terms of he’ll tell everybody about how important Aberdeen was for him. We feel we’ve helped play a part in that. But too often, clubs and others take credit for it.
“I think James is the one who takes the most credit. It’s no real surprise how well he’s doing.
“If he has another strong season with Leicester and gets himself in the international set-up, it will be a step to where he wants to be. I’m pretty sure he will go to the very top.”
McInnes said he felt Maddison was destined for a bright future and is unsurprised to see the midfielder seamlessly adapt to life in the English top flight.
He said: “You can never tell if he’d reach that level because he was a young player with clear potential.
“He has had a heavy burden and expectation from a very young age.
“People have been talking about him since he was 13, 14, 15 years old so he got a big money move at a young age and had to deal with that.
“When he came in you were never sure but what was clear, having watched James before we tried to get him, was that he was a player who could make the difference.
“He’s a real technician of the ball. Because of that, he’ll always be someone who is on the radar of big clubs and good clubs because he is the type who can make the difference.
“He did it for us on a few occasions, he made the difference in tight games. He had the ability to turn one point into three and no points into one just by a swivel of his hips or the strike of the ball or a pass. He was always someone we felt was going to have a good career.”