Evening Express

“The way to play is skilful nutmegs, all that” – Aberdeen’s Frank Ross won’t rein in the fancy stuff

Frank Ross in action for Aberdeen

Cruyff turns, nutmegs and flicks – rising star Frank Ross aims to use them all to excite Aberdeen fans this season.

For the 20-year-old there is only one way to play and that is with a freedom of expression and a sheer love of the game.

It is a refreshing approach that will be welcomed by Aberdeen supporters and could light up the Scottish Premiership.

Ross was pitched into the starting-line up for the BetFred Cup tie against St Mirren at just 15 minutes notice after winger Niall McGinn pulled out having suffered a tight calf during the match warm-up.

Nerves? Not a chance.

Ross relished the opportunity to create and played a key role in the 4-0 demolition of the Buddies.

It is a footballing philosophy that was fundamental to Holland legend Johan Cruyff, the player who developed the dribbling trick he hopes to recreate with the Reds.

Ross hopes he will be given the chance to shine again from the start at Hibs in Premiership action on Saturday.

He said: “I want to enjoy football. That is all I am worried about, I don’t care about anything else.

“Little nutmegs, Cruyff turns, that is the way to play football.

“It is boring just playing along passing it all the time.

“The way to play is skilful nutmegs, all that.

“That is what gets me excited.”

Pressure? Never.

There is no stress when the main concern is revelling in the game and entertaining the supporters.

He said: “There is only pressure if you put yourself under pressure.

“If you just go out and say ‘right I am going to enjoy this and couldn’t care if I lose it (the ball)’ that is the way to play.

“A lot of players put themselves under too much pressure.

“Just go and play.

“I just play the same way in training. I enjoy playing football and I was not nervous at all before St Mirren – I just went for it.

“Hopefully I have done enough to start against Hibs although obviously it is not down to me.”

Ross operated on the left wing against St Mirren but admits his favoured position is further infield.

He said: “I can play anywhere but centre-mid, I like that No 10 role.”

Ross received the nod he was starting for only the second time in his Dons career 15 minutes before the second round tie kicked off.

He said: “During the possession Niall pulled out and I took his bib and took part.

“It was just 15 minutes before kick-off and I was told I was starting. I was buzzing. I wouldn’t have been nervous even if I was told an hour and a half before.

“I just want to play football and enjoy it.”

Ross’ only other start was in a 1-0 win at Dundee last December, just days after scoring a superb free-kick in a 2-1 loss to Rangers after coming off the bench. He went on loan to Morton soon after.

McInnes revealed he started Ross ahead of £200,000 signing Chris Forrester because he had been the stand-out player in training for the last few weeks since returning from an injury.

“I have waited so long for that because there have been heaps of times I have been on the bench and not come on,” Ross said.

“I made my debut ages ago, four years ago, with five minutes at the end of a match at Dens Park.

“You do start to think when will my chance come. When you see players come in and start you do think ‘why is that not me?’

“I started one game last year at Dundee at Dens Park but the cup-tie was the first time I started at home.

“It was great to get that start at Pittodrie

“I am happy the game against St Mirren went so well and now I just want to push on and hopefully get in the team against Hibs.”