Watford’s scouting network has once again been praised following the rapid and spectacular emergence of Joao Pedro onto the footballing stage.

The 17-year-old Fluminense striker has been the subject of plenty of attention in his homeland and beyond after scoring seven goals in 10 days, including a stunning first-half hat-trick and an assist in his first professional start in a 4-1 Copa Scudamericana victory over Atletico Nacional.

Many of the headlines have also centred on Liverpool’s reported interest in the forward, despite an agreement already being in place for Joao Pedro to move to Vicarage Road in January after he has turned 18.

South American football journalist Tim Vickery has likened the teenage forward to a young Roque Santa Cruz - “Beanpole build, quick over the ground, good in the air, two feet” – the Paraguayan striker who played for Bayern Munich, Blackburn Rovers and Manchester City among others, but has seen his career disrupted by injuries.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live on Monday, Vickery said: “Now, believe me, had Santa Cruz not run into his injury problems he would have been one of the all-time greats. And he’s still playing very well now. So that’s the promise. But he’s (Joao Pedro’s) only been playing professional football really for a week.

“There’s a number of conclusions that we can draw from this. Firstly, that he is obviously a remarkable talent. Secondly, that Brazilian football is perhaps a little bit of a scorched earth so there’s opportunities for youngsters to play and to shine, so it’s far too early [to judge]. Thirdly, he’s going to have problems coping with this. Two weeks ago he’s not even a household name in his own home, now he’s the player that everyone wants to see, every journalist wants to interview. That has an effect when you’re 17. It has an effect at any age, but when you’re 17…

“And the other conclusion is let’s take our hat off to Watford’s scouting system because they bought him last year, so whatever’s going to happen they’re going to make some money on him.

“Watch him, have a look at him, but treat him kindly please. Two weeks ago he wasn’t even on the bench, so let’s take it gently.”

Joao Pedro is due to be Watford’s second signing from the Rio de Janeiro club after Richarlison was signed in August 2017 and was sold to Everton for a substantial profit 12 months later.

“This is the city that I live in,” Vickery explained. “I travel on the underground to the games, every time I’m stopping Fluminense fans and saying did you see Richarlison coming and only one out of over 100 is saying ‘yes, I thought he’d be a success in the Premier League’. These people at Watford, they know what they’re doing.”