DUNDEE United academy director Andy Goldie has outlined the qualities the club’s youngsters must possess to make the grade at Tannadice.
The former SFA Performance School coach hopes his Tangerines kids take inspiration from Jurgen Klopp’s Champions League winners Liverpool as they try to break into the senior ranks.
He said: “There are four things we look for in a player.
“We want them to be aggressive with the ball and off the ball. That’s in a typical Scottish sense of matching up to an opponent and making sure you’re better than him.
“In terms of how Jurgen Klopp plays at Liverpool, defensively they’re aggressive in nature but on the ball they have Mo Salah who dribbles with purpose.
“Another is being relentless and making sure that even if you’re 2-0 down you have that attitude to come back.
“If you’re unsuccessful in a one-against-one situation three times, you still go for the fourth one.
“Awareness is one. That’s a modern trait but one where Scotland probably lacks behind other countries just now in terms of decision making, where you take your first touch and the spacing and distancing between players, how you move the opposition.
“Bravery is the last one. In terms of that traditional Scottish mentality but also bravery to take the ball under pressure and outplay your opponent by finding solutions and playing the ball on the deck.
“They have to take players on one-v-one and try something different on the pitch.”
Goldie discussed his vision for the future yesterday at Tannadice alongside his academy team which includes club legend Dave Bowman and former United forward Jordan Moore.
He also touched on the importance of recruiting staff who do not have a background in the professional game.
He said: “We made a conscious decision that we didn’t just want your typical football people, we wanted people with different skillsets, backgrounds and experiences.
“The majority had worked in education, have come through university with degrees as well and that helps them understand the pathway the players are going through.
“They understand how kids learn and interact with people as well. We put all these things together without even thinking about the football initially.
“I think, if you’ve got that, you’ve got a solid foundation you can build upon.”
United’s academy director says playing sports other than football can prepare his youngsters for the demands of senior ranks.
Goldie said: “We’ve got kids that play golf competitively, we’ve got kids that do really well in swimming and martial arts. We actively encourage our kids to take up another sport.
“I think footballers are tarred with that brush of having tight hamstrings and not being the most flexible but that’s because they commit everything to football.
“We want a multi-sport approach where we actually encourage our players to go out and experience different sports.
“Futsal is great for them. We have a programme running and take part in tournaments.
“We them to do other sports and be kids. We don’t want to steal their lives from them, we want them to make their own decisions.
“Andy Payne, our head of technical performance, is really big on developing players that can handle the ball under any sort of pressure, circumstance or environment within the game.
“Futsal gives them that opportunity. You don’t need to manufacture anything, it’s there.
“You have to find a way to outplay your opponent and be brave on the ball.
“We’re really big on futsal, we want it to be a success and will continue to build it throughout the year.”
Goldie coached Chelsea and Scotland U-21 midfielder Billy Gilmour (18) and Hearts star Harry Cochrane (18) during his SFA Performance School days.
He said: “I worked with Billy for four years and he’s a special talent.
“Harry Cochrane he came through at Grange Academy and he played against our reserves on Tuesday.
“I still keep in touch with these guys and that’s the relationships we want to build with these kids.
“These players have got something completely different and they probably made more of an impact on my career than I did on their career because they demand more from you.
“They always want the next challenge and they’re never happy to rest on their laurels.
“I’m thankful we’ve got players like that in our academy.”