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‘I’m a winner and don’t like losing’ – New signing David Bates on why he will thrive on the pressure of playing for Aberdeen

New Aberdeen signing David Bates at Pittodrie during the 1-1 draw with Ross County
New Aberdeen signing David Bates at Pittodrie during the 1-1 draw with Ross County

New signing David Bates insists he will thrive under the pressure to deliver success at Aberdeen – as he is a winner.

The former SV Hamburg centre-back penned a three-year deal to become the final signing of boss Stephen Glass’ summer rebuild.

Bates, 24, is well aware of the expectation to win that comes with signing for a club like Aberdeen.

However, the defender is adamant those demands will not faze him, having played for German giants Hamburg and Rangers.

Pressure does not come more intense than playing at former European champions Hamburg in the club’s first ever season outside the German top flight.

Whilst Bates was fit and playing regularly, Hamburg were on course to win automatic promotion back to the Bundesliga.

However, he suffered an ankle injury that ruled him out of the final games of 2018-19 and the side missed out promotion in the final day of the season.

Pressure? Bates has already shown he can handle it.

Aberdeen’s new signing David Bates with Ryan Hedges before the 1-1 draw with Ross County. Hedges is out injured.

He said: “I don’t think it is hard to adjust to it being a big club, I knew the pressures involved.

“They were must-win games every week (at Hamburg) but that is the same mentality for me because I am a winner.

“I don’t like losing games, I want to enjoy football and you only do that when you win. ”

Intense play and training in Germany

Bates watched the 1-1 draw against Ross County from the sidelines as the Dons awaited his international clearance.

The defender, capped four times by Scotland, is set to make his delayed Dons debut in the Premiership clash at Motherwell on Saturday.

Missing out on promotion in that debut season with Hamburg was the catalyst for a change in management and the club’s budget being slashed.

Under the new regime, Bates was sent out on loan to Sheffield Wednesday and Cercle Brugge before Glass convinced him to return to Scotland.

David Bates (left) in action for Hamburg against Paderborn’s Christopher Antwi-Adjei.

Bates is confident the experience at 1983 European Cup winners Hamburg, who are alo six-time German title winners, ensured he has returned to Scotland a better player.

He also learned much from the must-win German mentality that he aims to utilise during his time at Pittodrie.

Bates said: “The German mentality is intense, you can’t get away with not being at it in training.

“You don’t get away with being 70 percent and just getting through it.

“There’s no chance if you’re like that, you’ll get hung out to dry.

“You have to give it 100 percent in every session.”

Learning experience of playing abroad

Bates was just 21 years old when he made the shock move to Germany from Rangers.

It was a huge leap of faith for the defender, but one that paid off for the Scotland international.

He would recommend playing abroad to any young player. However, after three nomadic years where he has played in Germany, England and Belgium, he is ready to settle down – and Pittodrie offered the perfect location.

He said: “I would recommend going abroad to anyone, it’s a good experience.

“It’s different, the styles of play and the atmosphere, so you become a better player if you’re working with the right people.

“When you’re young and if you don’t have ties, they go away to experience it because you will improve.

“When I went to Belgium I was told that it was of the best leagues outwith the top five or six, with some big clubs like Anderlecht and Bruges.

“It’s physical, but they play from the back as well, so it was a good level to play at.”

David Bates during a Scotland media session at Oriam, on September 2, 2019, in Edinburgh, Scotland.

‘Technically I’ve improved a lot’

The ex-Raith Rovers, East Stirling and Brechin City centre-back signed a four-year deal with Hamburg in 2018 and made 28 appearances in his debut season, scoring one goal.

Bates was signed by Christian Titz, who was axed by Hamburg in October 2018 with Hannes Wolf replacing him.

He insists Aberdeen have signed a more cultured defender than the one that exited Ibrox.

Aberdeen’s new signing David Bates during the Premiership match against Ross County.

He said: “I went over there and it was a big change in style.

“Technically, I’ve improved a lot I would say and I can read the game better.

“I’ve always said I was a good defender when I was in Scotland, so I always wanted to improve my style on the ball.

“I went over there and learnt a lot. I learned to play, learned to step in with the ball.

“The first year was great. I enjoyed it.

“It was obviously disappointing that we never got promoted.

“I played most games, but that’s football, it happens.

“There was a lot of change at the club.

“After that happened, almost everyone got cleared out.

“The new regime came in, I was injured and things didn’t go to plan that way.

“So, yeah, the first year was great, but after that I’ve not been there.”

The security of a three-year contract

Aberdeen’s need for defensive reinforcement intensified with confirmation Andy Considine would be sidelined until next year following cruciate ligament surgery.

Scotland international Considine suffered the serious knee injury when catching his studs on the terrible surface in the 1-0 Europa Conference League play-off first leg defeat to Qarabag in Azerbaijan.

David Bates goes up against Aberdeen’s Sam Cosgrove during his time with Rangers.

Having sought the signature of Bates throughout the summer, Aberdeen boss Glass finally landed his man in the final days of the transfer window.

After the upheaval of two successive seasons on loan, Bates is relieved to have stability now that he has committed to a long-term contract at Aberdeen

He said: “It was just good to get something over the line and done, try to settle and kick on.

“You can get too busy jumping back and forth for pre-season, it’s not good for you, so it’s good to now settle with the one team and try and focus under the gaffer’s style of play and enjoy that.”