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Ronald Hernandez and Jack Gurr – Aberdeen boss Stephen Glass clarifies ‘strange’ right-back situation

Aberdeen full-back Ronald Hernandez is on loan at Atlanta United
Aberdeen full-back Ronald Hernandez is on loan at Atlanta United

Aberdeen boss Stephen Glass confirmed he will reassess Venezuelan international right-back Ronald Hernandez’s situation at the end of the year.

Hernandez is currently on loan at MLS side Atlanta United and scored in the Copa America finals for his country last month against Ecuador.

While 20 times capped Hernandez is at the Five Stripes, the Dons boss has secured right-back Jack Gurr from Atlanta United for the 2021-22 season.

Glass admits some could perceive taking in a right-back from the same club you have loaned a right-back to as “strange”.

However, he clarified both deals were done independently and shot down any claims Gurr is the lesser option or way down the pecking order at Atlanta.

Glass has backed Gurr to be a major asset for the Dons and admits he feared Atlanta United boss Gabriel Heinze would be so impressed by the 26-year-old any deal would be scuppered.

Glass said: “Ronnie is our player and is on loan at Atlanta until December.

“We’ll see where it sits in Decembe, but he remains an Aberdeen player who is out on loan.

“Ronnie just happens to be in the States and not a Scottish or English club.

“I think some people are asking with Jack (Gurr) here and Ronnie going the other way, it looks a little bit strange.

“But the two things are totally independent.”

Hernandez playing, and scoring, for Venezuela at Copa America

An £850,000 signing from Norwegian side Stabaek in January 2020, Hernandez is one of the most expensive signings in Aberdeen’s history.

The Venezuelan international signed a four-and-a-half-year contract with Aberdeen until summer 2024, but made just three starts with a further three appearances off the bench.

Hernandez was sent on loan to Atlanta United in February, but has yet to start for the MLS side, Aberdeen’s strategic partners.

However, the right-back has played for Venezuela at the ongoing Copa America and came off the bench to score an injury time Group B equaliser in a 2-2 draw with Ecuador.

He started the 1-0 loss to Peru last week.

It is the second successive Copa America where Hernandez has starred as he started games in the 2019 Copa America

In the 2019 tournament, just months before moving to Pittodrie, Hernandez also played the entire 90 minutes in the 2-0 quarter-final loss to Argentina, where he came up against stars like six-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi (Barcelona) and Sergio Aguero (then-Manchester City, now Barcelona).

Argentina’s Lionel Messi, right, and Venezuela’s Ronald Hernandez vie for the ball during a Copa America quarter-final match at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2019.

However, he cannot get game time for Aberdeen or Atlanta United.

Glass insists Hernandez appearances at this year’s Copa America underlines the Reds decision to sign him was “probably correct”, despite his game time.

The Dons boss believes the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown hit Hernandez particularly hard while in the Granite City as he was separated from his wife Krisvany and daughter Adeline for almost a year.

They were set to join him in Aberdeen, but were left stranded in Venezuela when the country went into lockdown with travel restricted due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Glass said: “There was an opportunity for the club before I came in to put Ronnie on loan to the MLS and Atlanta took him, which was great because of the partnership.

“He’s there with his family and you can tell he’s happy, because I’ve seen him myself.

“He is playing international football and he scored that goal which shows the decision to sign in the first place was probably correct.

“Ronnie probably suffered through Covid more than most.

“He was here in Aberdeen while his wife and family were on the other side of the world.

“We were in America not able to see our families, but I had my wife with me so I can only imagine what he was going through.”

Ronald Hernandez on signing for Aberdeen on transfer deadline day in January 2020.

Fears Atlanta United would keep Gurr

The loan deal sending Hernandez to Atlanta United for the duration of the MLS season was sanctioned under former manager Derek McInnes in February.

To strengthen the right-back position, Glass moved this summer to secure Gurr, 26, who he had previously managed at Atlanta United 2.

Gurr subsequently stepped up to Atlanta United and made his debut in the 2020 Concacaf Champions League in a 1-0 win quarter-final second leg defeat of Club America.

Glass insisted anyone who views Gurr as “fourth choice” right-back at Atlanta has a “blinkered viewpoint” and is confident the defender will prove them wrong.

The Dons boss rates Gurr so highly he was concerned Atlanta United boss Heinze, the former Argentina international and Real Madrid, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain left-back, would be so impressed he would block any Dons move.

New signings Jack Gurr and Scott Brown during an Aberdeen training session at Cormack Park

He said: “People shouldn’t be considering Jack fourth or fifth-choice right-back at Atlanta and thinking negatively about him before anybody has seen him play.

“That’s a blinkered viewpoint.

“Jack has an opportunity to show anyone that is negative about his position that they are wrong.

“He is a very, very good right-back and played for me with Atlanta United 2 and was fantastic.

Jack Gurr joined his team-mates for pre-season training.

“The manager of Atlanta, Gabriel Heinze, was probably one of the world’s best full-backs in his time so I think he knows what a good full-back is.

“One of my fears about not being able to get Jack was that Gabriel would like him too much.

“Gabriel did and put him as first choice right-back for one of his games and he did well.

“Jack is going to be a good right-back for us.”

This article originally appeared on the Evening Express website. For more information, read about our new combined website.