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6 starlet success stories as Jack Ross discusses Dundee United youth development

Focused: Ross
Focused: Ross

Jack Ross insists his track record of developing young talent speaks for itself as Dundee United seek to create a conveyor belt of home-grown stars.

The Tangerines handed senior appearances to sixteen academy products last season, while they sold Kerr Smith to Aston Villa for a fee which could rise to £2 million.

United’s determination to create a fruitful and ultimately lucrative pathway for players is well-documented, with owner Mark Ogren adamant that is the club’s route to self-sustainability.

And Ross has not shied away from that aspect of the job, emphasising that, from Lewis Morgan to Josh Maja, he has never been afraid to promote raw talent and reap the rewards.

Most recently, he is the coach who brought through Josh Doig at Hibs — a left-back now valued at between £3 million and £4 million.

Doig, right, has been linked with Hellas Verona and Bologna in Serie A

“Every single manager and coach who sits in front of a board will always say the right things because they want the job,” smiled Ross.

“That’s whether we’re talking about style of football or bringing through youth players.

“The good thing for me now is — because I’m this far down the line — I can point to evidence of it.

“At St Mirren, I had Lewis Morgan, Stevie Mallan and Kyle McAllister who were all sold by the club.

“At Sunderland, we had Josh Maja who went to Bordeaux and Bali Mumba who joined Norwich.

Then at Hibs, there was Josh Doig, who has come through and done so well.”


However, Ross is acutely aware of the need to balance youthful promise with established talent.

And he reckons his old Edinburgh rivals Hearts — who romped to third place and reached the Scottish Cup last term — are an example of getting recruitment right under ex-Tannadice gaffer Robbie Neilson.

Ross believes Hearts’ recruitment has been stellar

“There’s also the understanding that, for Dundee United to continually compete in the part of the league we are in, you need good proven players to support that,” continued Ross.

“You need to get the balance right and, in the conversations we had [Ross and the United hierarchy], there is an acknowledgement of that.

“Hearts are a good example. Their recruitment has been excellent in the last 12-to-18 months.

“They signed established players a lot of the time, and you have to marry that with the players you develop.”

Tony Asghar ‘very confident’ of Lewis Neilson fee as Dundee United chief counters bullish Hearts claims

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