Who is Scottish football’s next big thing? Who could be the next James McFadden or Andy Robertson? Here at Youth Football Scotland we’re casting our eye over the main SPFL teams to find just who’s on the cusp of breaking out.
As the new season begins in the Scottish Championship it is a certainty all managers will be deeply analysing their squads. More often than not managers will then look to the transfer market to bolster their squads, however often that is not necessary. Sometimes the answer to a problem with the first team squad such as an injury or a high profile departure lies within the ranks of the squad itself.
A fine example of a club who have done this is Dundee United. The Tangerines have made sure that they put the excellent academy they have to use, the same academy which produced promising Scottish talent such as Ryan Gauld and Stuart Armstrong. This strong youth policy has certainly been a strong asset to the Arabs as they’ve never failed to give determined young players a chance – even if they lack first team experience.
An example of a successful graduate of the Dundee United academy is left-back Jamie Robson. 19 year-old Robson made his debut for United in September 2015 when, then Dundee United boss, Jackie McNamara started him in a 3-1 League Cup victory against lower league competition in the form of Dunfermline. Since then he has impressed spectating Dundee United fans with mature and steady displays from the full back positon. In fact, some fans have even compared him to such United greats as Maurice Malpas and Frank Kopel.
Robson attended Blairgowrie High School and lived in Perth while he was of course playing football. During his youth career he played for Coupar Angus Boys Club while still having ties with Rangers and Dundee Football Club. In 2011, when Robson was 12, he made the short switch from Dundee to Dundee United and then signed professionally in 2014. In January 2016 Robson went on loan to then League One side Brechin City after he had committed his future to the Arabs by signing a contract extension. At the time of writing this, Robson has made 34 appearances for Dundee United, fans will certainly be hoping he continues to be a stalwart in the Arabs’ defence.
Much closer to Tannadice is fellow Dundee United academy graduate Scott Allardice who has also had an impact on the first team. Like Robson, Allardice is also 19 years old however he plays as a defensive midfielder. Allardice has been described by fans as a player with an excellent ability to pass the ball, however he is also known to show his physical side and get into tackles. Unfortunately the opportunity to impress the Dundee United faithful was bitter-sweet as he was injured shortly after his debut and tragically missed 13 months of football.
Allardice is sure to be a favourite as he is a born and bred Dundonian. He attended St. John’s High School while playing for Dundee Rovers and Celtic Boys Club early in his youth career. After leaving school Allardice signed for United in 2014 and has since made five appearances.