Derek McInnes believes Aberdeen teenager Lewis Ferguson has the attributes and determination to have a very good career in the game.
Ferguson has impressed in his early months at Pittodrie after signing from Hamilton Accies, going from a handful of starts for his former club to being a regular under McInnes with the Dons.
He received a call-up to the Scotland under-21 squad last month but has missed the last four games due to a knee injury picked up in training. His return came in the weekend’s game against St Mirren and it is not before time for McInnes, who is excited to be working with a player of his talents.
McInnes said: “I didn’t have the benefit of actually knowing the boy before I signed him. You think you know him and by the way he plays the game you know his personality. His drive and determination also comes out in his performances but I have got to know him a lot better since he has come here.
“The way he attacked his pre-season work on the first day in testing – he laid down a marker even that day. He wasn’t going to just do it to an acceptable testing level. He was pushing himself to be the best.
“When it is a young player, they can make a big effort and maybe not get to the level you want them to but he impressed us at every turn – with his running, the ball at his feet, his strength work and his overall application to attack pre-season. You are always looking at your players and how they deal with adversity. That is a challenge but everything we put down he met in pre-season head on.
“I watched him play for Hamilton. I really liked the kid and I am glad he is our boy now and working.
“There are a lot of good young players coming through and you can see that when you see the Scotland under-19s and 21s.
“Lewis is in his own place and whether he is as good as any of them I don’t know but I am delighted with what he has given us so far.”
The Dons boss does not think there will be any comparisons to Ferguson’s father Derek, who played for Rangers, Hearts and Sunderland in a 20-year playing career.
McInnes added: “We are in a generation now where a lot of people won’t even remember his dad playing.
“He is just a natural footballer. I and most of the people around our club look at him just as Lewis Ferguson.
“He just looks like a natural footballer when he is running, tackling, heading, kicking and receiving the ball or even shooting.
“Whether that comes from the genes he inherited from his dad or whatever, it doesn’t matter.
“Your dad could be the best player in the world but you still need to have a determination and personality.
“A combination of both has got him to where he is now and those qualities with added improvements will take him on to have a very good career.”