Dundee United midfielder Scott Fraser has been challenged to prove his manager right when he says he has the “best ability in Scotland.”
Tangerines boss Ray McKinnon certainly doesn’t hide his admiration for Fraser as a player, claiming he has “everything” required to make it big in the game.
He is a not alone, either, with the performance the 22-year-old produced against Blackpool in a closed-door game last week seeing him compared by their management team to Scotland international Tom Cairney, who had a £20 million price tag put on him by his club Fulham when Newcastle wanted him back in January .
Fraser will be crucial to United’s creativity in the new season, which starts on Saturday at home to Raith Rovers in the Betfred Cup, with the midfielder likely to fill the playmaking number 10 role vacated by Frenchman Tony Andreu.
More than that, though, McKinnon wants him to avoid drifting out of games and instead use his undoubted skill for whole matches in order to become the complete package.
The United gaffer said: “This is a really big year for Scotty.
“He has the potential to really kick on if he wants to grab that chance to be a top player.
“I am looking for him to do that.
“For me, he has the best ability in Scotland.
“He has everything.
“He just needs to get his head around the fact that he needs to be involved in the game for 90 minutes.
“We can give him the information he needs but it’s then up to him to use that knowledge.
“Scott is such a quality player but he needs to get into his head that he needs to do it for 90 minutes.
“He has to play at that level for the whole game, every game.
“What I hope will help him is that we have other players who can carry the ball – Paul McMullan, James Keatings, Billy King etc – and that can free him up a bit.
“He played against Blackpool on Friday and he was outstanding against a very, very good side.
“They (Blackpool) were raving about him and were comparing him with the boy Cairney at Fulham who is supposed to be worth £20 million.
“He is a similar type, they said, in that he is big, strong and talented
“We were all raving about him the other day – even me – because he has so much ability.
“He has the potential to do anything he wants in the game – it’s up to him now.”