Tam Courts insists Declan Glass still has a bright future at Dundee United after loaning the midfield playmaker out to Kilmarnock.
Glass will spend the rest of the season at Rugby Park after joining the Championship title-chasers on a short-term deal.
Some United fans are questioning the decision to farm out Glass a month after he scored a stunning solo goal against Hibernian.
But Glass has only just returned in October from 14 months out with a serious knee injury.
And Courts – who signed midfield duo Tim Akinola and Kevin McDonald this week – believes that has hampered his progress.
However, he insists the door is open for Glass to return, with his contract not due to expire until 2023.
“Declan’s at an age where he needs to play every week,” Courts told Courier Sport.
“It’s not fleeting appearances or moments.
“Those fleeting appearances and moments are reserved for 18-year-olds and young players who are on the periphery.
“When you get to 20 or 21 you need to be playing regularly.
“At Dundee United you need to almost be the first name on a teamsheet.
There were some amazing goals scored in the Scottish Premiership across December, comment below with your favourite👇 pic.twitter.com/Mu8WMgBwc4
— Sky Sports Scotland (@ScotlandSky) January 2, 2022
“He is getting the opportunity to play every week at Kilmarnock and challenge for a title. We’ll get the benefit of that at the start of the season.
“We are putting Declan’s needs above ours at the moment but will get the fruits of that next season.
“He’s got a bright future with Dundee United.
“If Declan was 18, we would have kept him.
“But he’s a man and, in some ways, because he got an opportunity at a young age that psychologically and emotionally affected him.
“He got a taste for it and wanted more.
“He wants 70 or 80 minutes on the park as opposed to 20 or 25.
“He’ll hopefully get that at Kilmarnock and come back to Dundee United in a much stronger position.”
Declan Glass can become a ‘more rounded’ player with Kilmarnock loan spell
Glass has spoken previously of his strong relationship Courts.
His undoubted technical ability and infectious character has also made him a firm favourite with the fans.
And Courts has challenged him to become a ’90 minute player’ at Kilmarnock.
“When a young player comes off the bench, the game is already open,” added Courts.
“There is an opportunity for a talent like Declan to find a moment of brilliance.
“But the challenge for Declan is being able, when the game is tight, to commit to what the team needs before engineering himself back into it.
A new midfield addition from the Terrors 🍊
— Kilmarnock FC (@KilmarnockFC) February 2, 2022
“He can then have the big moments as the game opens up.
“We can then get a more complete and rounded player. The only thing that has robbed Declan of that development until now is 14 months of injury.
“We need to make sure we do what’s right for his development and are excited to see where he can go in the future.”