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McDermott well aware of Hazard class
Eden Hazard will look to tear Reading apart on Wednesday, but had Brian McDermott had his way, the Chelsea star would have been lining up for the Royals instead.
Hazard may have only played one Barclays Premier League match, but expectations of the 21-year-old are already high after he starred in Chelsea's 2-0 win over Wigan on Sunday.
McDermott first saw Hazard play five years ago when he was coming through the ranks at Lille, and he explained: "You can't go to a place like Lille and say 'we'll take your best player', it just doesn't happen. But I remember watching him. He was 16 and I thought he was a great talent then."
He went on: "He was phenomenal and everyone there knew at 16 what a talent he was going to be. He stood out like the proverbial sore thumb."
Wigan's players were unable to handle Hazard and some resorted to fouling the midfielder to stop him from wreaking more havoc.
Despite this, McDermott thinks the midfielder will get sufficient protection over the course of the season.
"When I played you could kick people out of the league because that's how it was in those days," the Reading manager said.
"Now it is not like that, thank God. One tackle now and you get booked and that's why the flair players thrive."