Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes is excited at the prospect of seeing Miko Virtanen in action when he returns to Pittodrie.
The Finnish under-21 international spent last season on loan at Championship club Arbroath and the midfielder made a huge impression at the Red Lichties, helping the club compete for a play-off place before the season was brought to a premature end due to the coronavirus.
The former Everton youth player is highly rated both by the Dons and other Championship clubs and McInnes believes the 21 year-old will return a better player for his season at Gayfield.
He said: “Miko has done very well at Arbroath.
“I was delighted with the job he did under Dick Campbell and Pink (Ian Campbell) at Arbroath. They played him every week.
“He was training with us and also training with Arbroath a couple of times a week and then getting games on a Saturday.
“I am delighted with the progress he has made and the fact he was playing every week. I know Dick and Pink were also delighted with Miko.
“He will come back in the summer and hopefully be better for the experience of his time at Arbroath.”
Virtanen, a defensive midfielder who can also play at right-back, has been involved in the Dons first-team squad prior to spending last season in the Championship and McInnes is encouraged by the fact his player has been a standout performer.
He said: “I have spoken to other managers in the Championship and I always ask about Miko and they are always very complimentary.
“A few even asked me about his availability in January, but we were happy with the way he had been progressing and wanted to keep him at Arbroath for the season.
“It has definitely been a good loan.
“It doesn’t always have to be a good loan because at times it can be all about the experience, good and bad, but the loan went as well as we had hoped.
“We have put him on a two-year deal. We have had him watched regularly and I have also seen him and the fact he has been playing in the Championship has been great.”
With Virtanen back home as his season is over, his Aberdeen team-mates have been following a reduced training programme as they wait for news on a date when they can return to competitive action.
McInnes said: “We had a discussion with the staff and our sports science team and with us not being back until June 10 at the earliest then it might benefit the players to loosen the load and put the more of a close-season programme rather than training every day.
“I think the players are still doing bits themselves to keep themselves ticking over but we are not standing over them.
“We just hope that gives the boys a bit of freshness when they go back. If we knew what date we were going back then we could adopt things accordingly.”