No matter what success, riches or fame come his way, you feel Kerr Smith will have learned plenty from bring travelling into training with Ryan Edwards.
At 16, the Dundee United defender is too young to start learning to drive and must wait until his birthday in December before he even thinks about getting his own wheels.
Until that moment, the talented centre-half will be chauffeured to St Andrews and back every day by a man 11 years his senior, fellow-defender Edwards.
At only 27 himself, being the old head doesn’t come naturally to the big Liverpudlian.
However, for young prospect Smith, who has recently courted interest from the likes of Manchester United and Aston Villa, he could do a lot worse than glean what he can from Edwards on their travels.
A standout for the Tangerines this season, the centre-back knows what it takes to make it in the rough and tumble of English football after a career spent at the likes of Morecambe, Plymouth Argyle and Blackpool.
For Edwards, English Premier League interest in Smith is merited as he believes the youngster has all the attributes to go right to the top.
‘I think he’ll walk through the leagues and go as high as he wants’
“I get on with Kerr very well – I bring him in every day and I’ve seen him really grow,” he said.
“When I first saw him at the start of the season he was only 15 and he stood out in that first training session.
“He deserves all the plaudits he’s getting now.
“I believe there are many clubs watching him and it’s up to the club to see whether they can hang on to him or whether it’s offers they can’t turn down.
“He’s got a very bright future and I can’t wait to see the progress in his career and where he goes.”
Edwards continued: “He can make it down south 100% because the thing that stands out with Kerr is, not only is he good with the ball like the youth of today all are, but he’s got the nasty side to him as well.
“When we do set-pieces in training, he’s trying his hardest to not let me get a run and a free header.
“He’s only going to get more streetwise and add more strength to his game as he gets older.
“I think he’ll walk through the leagues and go as high as he wants. He’s really that good.”
Scottish football ‘underrated’ by failed English talent
Reflecting on his first season with United, and in Scotland in general, Edwards has enjoyed his football.
With a year left to run on his current deal, he is ready to test himself again next time out in a league in the Premiership that he believes deserves more credit.
He added: “People always ask you the question: ‘What’s the difference between Scotland and England?’
“It’s hard to answer because the standard’s very good and people don’t give it the credit it deserves.
“You see a lot of players come up from down south and they very quickly go back down there because they’re taken by surprise with the quality up here.
“They have the cheek to go back down there and not give it the best reputation because they’ve not done well.
“I’m the complete opposite. I think it’s a good a league, an underrated league, and I think it’s going to attract more players and get even better.”
Edwards settled on and off the pitch after tough start
Dominant in the air, strong in the tackle and very much endearing himself to the support, Edwards has fast become a valued member of Micky Mellon’s squad.
One of the Terrors boss’ few summer signings, it took the giant defender a little while to get going in tangerine.
Being miles away from his family in Liverpool amid Covid-19 restrictions and his ongoing recovery from testicular cancer have played their part off the field.
With things settling down on that front, Edwards is keen to show Arabs they’ve not seen the best of him yet.
“I’ve enjoyed my first season at Tannadice but it’s been tough at times,” he admitted.
“I’ll have to change my next check-up because I’m due back in for treatment the day we return for pre-season.
“I’ll have to ring the hospital and go a few days before but that’s all fine, no news is good news.
“I finally got settled around Christmas time and I think it’s showing on the pitch that once you get your life right off it, you get the rewards.
“My girlfriend is up as much as she can and I go back when I can.
“We’ve got a good balance going on at the minute.
“Looking back to when I first came, I had a hard time in pre-season, got injured in my first game, my first ever muscle injury and struggled to find form after that.
“I’m the first to throw my hands up to that but once I got my consistency and picked my levels up I was fine.
“I know I’ve still got more to offer. I know I can raise my game again.”