Liam Craig believes Jason Kerr’s “football brain” will help his career progression – on top of the physical attributes of the St Johnstone defender.
The former under-21 international enjoyed an impressive calendar year after returning from a loan spell with Queen of the South 12 months ago and going straight into Tommy Wright’s starting line-up.
With his imposing stature and pace, Kerr is regarded at McDiarmid Park as one of the best centre-backs in Scotland.
And his team-mate Craig has also talked up the 21-year-old’s in-game intelligence – something the former Falkirk man has witnessed in his new deep-lying midfield role for the Perth side.
“I have noticed it playing close to him lately,” said Craig. “Jason has excellent positional sense and knows where to be on the pitch.
“You don’t see him making too many last-ditch tackles and that’s because he has the ability know what attackers are likely to do.
“That’s a huge asset for a defender because he senses danger and that saves him having to do the last-ditch stuff.
“Having a football brain as well as having the pace and athleticism means he can go as far as he likes.”
Craig believes that the step by step development of Kerr in the lower leagues is one of the big reasons he has hit the ground running as a Saints first team player in the Premiership.
He said: “Jason has set his own standards and there’s no doubt he has a very bright future in the game.
“He has done things the hard way. He’s been out on loan from a young age playing football.
“The loans to East Fife and Queen of the South have been the making of him. He’s been playing competitive games and learning for years now.
“The club did the same with Stevie May and Zander Clark and the pair of them came back far better players.
“Jason has everything you need to be a top centre half. He’s big, quick and reads the game very well.
“He is also very comfortable on the ball, which is a huge thing these days.”