Mixu Paatelainen believes John Souttar can be a “top, top” right-back.
The 19-year-old has been a versatile player for Dundee United in his short career to date, starting out at centre-back and then being redeployed as a holding central midfielder by Jackie McNamara.
In his first two games in charge, Paatelainen has selected Souttar at full-back.
The Hearts and Celtic games have been a tough introduction to the position at the top level, but the Finn has faith that he can become a big success on the flank.
But, even if that proves to be the case, Paatelainen admits that it remains to be seen where he will be played long-term.
“It’s difficult for me to say what his best position is after less than two weeks in the job,” he said.
“He’s been playing at right-back and I think he has all the attributes to be a top, top right-back.
“He’s quick, he’s fit, he lasts, he’s got a good pass and technique, he’s strong, he’s ok in the air, he wants to get forward and be positive.
“He’s got everything.
“Yeah, it is a new position for him. And whenever you play in a new position there are things a little bit strange and foreign to you.
“John’s a great lad to work with.”
So will Souttar continue to be a right-back under Paatelainen?
“Not necessarily,” he pointed out.
“I don’t know what his best position is. He can do really well as a defensive midfielder or as a centre-half.
“At the moment we do have injuries, and there aren’t too many options for the back four positions.
“Ryan McGowan is the same. He can play as a right-back or centre-half.
“Sean Dillon can play all across the back.
“But we don’t have too many options to change things at the moment.”
United will have Blair Spittal back in their squad for the visit of high-flying Ross County on Saturday.
It is a welcome return as far as Paatelainen is concerned.
“Spits is an energetic player who wants to make things happen,” he said.
“It’s great that we have him available again.
“He was unfortunate to get sent off against Hearts. It was probably decision that he got two yellows but it was a pity.”