Aberdeen right-back Jack Gurr has been backed to take Scotland by storm by his former coach in the United States.
Signed from Atlanta United on a one year deal, Gurr made his Dons debut as a second half substitute in the 5-1 Euro thrashing of BK Hacken at Pittodrie.
Dons boss Stephen Glass opted to start 17-year-old Calvin Ramsay in the right-back slot ahead of Gurr against the Swedes.
Teenager Ramsay produced a superb performance but Gurr’s former coach at Georgia Gwinnet Grizzlies Stephen Magennis reckons Glass has a major selection headache at right-back.
He hailed Gurr as the most attack-minded full-back he has ever worked with that has the technique and tenacious attitude to be a major hit in Scotland.
Magennis said: “I had the good fortune of coaching Jack for about five years.
“From the jump he is such a technically gifted player.
“His technique and athleticism are superb but what I really believe will endear Jack to the Aberdeen fans is that he is so tenacious.
“I have no doubt he will be a fans’ favourite at Aberdeen because of his passion.
“That was something we really appreciated when he was here.”
‘The most attack minded defensive player I have ever worked with’
Newcastle born and raised Gurr, 25, moved to the States as a teenager and played for the Grizzlies whilst studying for a business degree.
He excelled at the Grizzlies and it was no surprise when the right-back eventually elevated to Major League Soccer with Atlanta United.
When appointed Aberdeen manager in March this year Glass vowed to build an attacking team and that was delivered in the emphatic Uefa Europa Conference League defeat of BK Hacken.
Magennis has no doubt Gurr will slot seamlessly into that attacking philosophy.
He said: “Jack is the most attack-minded defensive player I have ever worked with.
“If you look at his stats in his last year at Atlanta United 2 Jack had the most crosses in the final third and that was encompassing wingers as well.
“He bombs forward, is very technically clean and defensively very sound.
“Aberdeen are getting an all round very high level player.”
Gurr backed to make it to the top
As assistant manager at Georgia Gwinnett College, Magennis has watched Gurr’s progression to the MLS and then the Scottish Premiership, and European action, with Aberdeen.
Having graduated from college Gurr signed with Georgia Revolution in the National Premier Soccer League, the fourth tier of United States football.
He excelled over two seasons there and was signed by Atlanta United 2 where he was managed by Glass.
Magennis said: “I had absolutely no doubt that Jack would push on to be an elite level performer.
“He was an All American. When you are All American for any institution over here you can for the most part play professionally in most countries.
“The fact he went on to play for Atlanta United 2 and jumped up into the first team – you can see the progression.
“I had no doubt he would make it to the very top and it is great that he is now playing in European competition with Aberdeen.”
Played in the CONCACAF quarter-finals
Gurr made his debut for Atlanta United as a substitute in a 1-0 CONCACAF Champions League quarter final defeat of Club America of Mexico last year.
Aberdeen manager Glass was interim boss of Atlanta United for that last eight tie having stepped up from the club’s B team.
Atlanta United had lost the first leg 3-0 prior to the Coronavirus pandemic lockdown.
The second tie was played nine months later with Glass at the helm of Atlanta United following the exit of Frank de Boer.
Magennis said: “It was no surprise to me that Jack was playing in a big game like the CONCACAF quarter-final.
“Jack has the technical capacity to go to the very, very top
“He really is a dynamic and well rounded full back.
“It was clear as day to me he would go on to the next level.
“He is a player who will quickly become one of the fans’ favourites as they will enjoy watching him.”
Don’t forget Ronald Hernandez
Aberdeen boss Glass has two strong candidates for the right-back berth in Ramsay and Gurr.
At the turn of the year he could yet have three as Venezuelan international right-back Ronald Hernandez’ loan spell at Atlanta United will have expired.
Hernandez suffered a frustrating start to his loan at the MLS club, Aberdeen’s strategic partners. but in recent weeks has began to make his presence felt both at club and international level.
The 23-year-old, contracted to Aberdeen until summer 2024, last month came off the bench to head home for Venezuela deep into time added on to salvage a 2-2 draw against Ecuador in a Group B clash at the Copa America.
One of Aberdeen’s most expensive signings at £800,000 from Norwegian side Stabaek in January 2020 the full back made just three starts for Aberdeen, with a further three appearances off the bench – although his time was disrupted by the pandemic.
This week Hernandez scored a superb goal to level against Cincinatti in a 1-1 draw.
Un momento que nunca olvidaré, que toda la gloria sea para Dios🙏🏼🙌🏼 https://t.co/d5vYl3QqKa
— Ronald Hernández (@RonaldH_22) July 22, 2021
For now the battle for that right-back berth is between Gurr and Ramsay.
Magennis believes Gurr will instantly adapt to the demands of Glass having previously played for him at Atlanta United 2.
He said: “Jack will already know the demands and the infrastructure of the coach Stephen Glass.
“My belief is that he will hit the ground running at Aberdeen.
“He is from the north-east of England so he is not someone who needs to adapt to the climate or the demands.”