McDermott, whose side visit Stamford Bridge in the Premier League tonight, says that even as a 16-year-old Hazard was "phenomenal".
"I would go to three games over the weekend starting on Friday night and one of them on this particular trip was at Lille," he recalled.
"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 phenomenal and everyone there knew at 16 what a talent he was going to be. He stood out like the proverbial sore thumb."
Hazard made 147 Ligue 1 appearances during his time with Lille, scoring 36 goals.