AFTER SPENDING nearly eight years on the books at Arsenal, Matt Macey knows exactly what it takes to play in the upper echelons of the English Premier League.
And the Hibernian goalkeeper is convinced team-mate Josh Doig has everything required to go on and reach the very top.
The pair are gearing up for a tilt at Scottish Cup glory on Saturday against St Johnstone at Hampden.
But speculation suggests it could be the duo’s last game together as clubs get ready to tempt Hibs with lucrative offers for the richly-talented Doig.
Arsenal are just one of the teams said to be tracking the 19-year-old full-back, with Manchester City, Leicester City, Leeds United and Celtic also reportedly interested.
Macey – Hibs’ designated Scottish Cup number one – can fully understand why the teenager has caught the attention of so many massive clubs.
The 26-year-old said: “He’s been unbelievable. Since I have come in, he has played almost every game and to have that level of consistency at that age is not something I have seen before.
“That’s the key, you can be a great player and play here and there, and you see that from young players from time to time.
“But I don’t think people appreciate, or give him the respect he deserves, for the level of consistency he has reached.
“He has been fantastic every single week and that’s the thing that has surprised me the most because I have not seen that level of maturity and consistency in someone that age before.
“And if he has that now it’s frightening to think what he could become in the future. He’s a top, top player.
“For me [a possible move to Arsenal] is absolutely not unrealistic for Josh. Josh can go as far as he wants to.
“He’s coming up to a big moment in his career, he has obviously had a lot of big moments already in terms of his age and making that breakthrough. But I think it will be a big moment for him over the next couple of years.
“And, like I touched on before, the level of maturity and consistency you see in him, that’s what makes me think he won’t have a problem in terms of being distracted or sidetracked by interest from big clubs.
“He’s very level headed and he’ll take it in his stride. For me he can go right to the top, that’s my opinion.
“I have seen a lot of young players at Arsenal and he would be right up there, for sure.”
Macey lifted the FA Cup in strange circumstances last year, not only because Arsenal’s 2-1 win over Chelsea in August was played in a deserted Wembley but also because he felt like something of an outsider filling the bench only because of an injury to Bernd Leno.
It was an experience that confirmed the 6’7’’ goalie’s intention to leave the Gunners, a move that has paid off handsomely as he seeks to get his hands on the Scottish Cup just nine months later.
Having recently penned a new two-year deal, Macey said: “Being part of that cup win but not really feeling a part of it just confirmed everything to me.
“In the end it has worked out really well for me, and winning on Saturday would really tick that box. You look at it and think, ‘wow, what a difference it is from a year ago’.
“But no matter if we win or lose I know I made the right decision in taking that step to come here and I am more than happy with that.”