Dundee United coach Andrew Steeves feels he has a ‘dual role’ in League One with his side Montrose.
As well as being a mainstay in high-flying Mo’s side, Steeves works at Tannadice as a position development coach helping to bring through the next generation of United talent.
The 27-year-old is already seeing some of it blossom – and has even come face-to-face with some of his former students while they are out on loan.
Facing former students
Most recently, Steeves was up against Flynn Duffy as the Gable Endies beat Peterhead 2-0 at Links Park.
The 18-year-old left back is with the Blue Toon on a season-long loan and Steeves believes regular action in League One will do the youngster the world of good.
“I’ve coached Flynn,” he said. “He’s now finished his academy journey, hoping to push into the development group and first team through his loan at Peterhead.
“He had a great start to the [United] first team, getting a couple of assists and showing he can play.
“This loan will be so valuable to him in learning how to deal with the demands of the game, especially the Scottish game.”
Loan spells a great lesson
Through the youth system at United, players are taught how to play game in a way that fits the Tangerines’ style.
But Steeves knows that will not always be the way for young players. And a spell in the lower leagues is the perfect experience for Duffy and other developing talent at the club.
“At Dundee United, we try and play in a certain style and it’s not always going to be like that,” he said.
“For example, when he’s playing against, physically, one of best players in the league in Graham Webster, he’s going to have to learn to handle that.
“It was great to be sharing a pitch with him. I’ll make sure to catch up with him on the phone to see how he feels it’s going.”
Duffy isn’t the first player coach Steeves has come up against. Rhys Caves is on loan at Airdrie from United this season. Last term, Lewis Neilson, Kai Fotheringham, Kieran Freeman, Ross Graham and Florent Hoti all had spells in League One.
As did Chris Mochrie, who played alongside Steeves at Links Park.
It’s this that makes Steeves feel like he has an added responsibility of being a source of advice and encouragement – while also trying to teach them a lesson on the field.
“We had Chris Mochrie on loan here last year,” he said.
“I feel like I’ve kind of got a dual loan here in League One, helping out loan players when I can then hoping to beat them when I play against them.”