Summer signing Gallagher hoping to take silverware after training with best in States

Jon Gallagher in action against Connah's Quay Nomads
Jon Gallagher in action against Connah's Quay Nomads

New Aberdeen signing Jon Gallagher trained with three World Cup winners during his time in America.

Now he has travelled across the Atlantic in search of his own silverware glory with the Dons.

The 23-year-old trained with former World Cup winner Kaka, a 2002 World Cup winner with Brazil at Orlando City.

At New York City (NYC) he worked with David Villa, World Cup winner with Spain in 2010, and Andrea Pirlo, who lifted the World Cup with Italy in 2006.

On loan from Atlanta United until January, Gallagher said: “Training with those players was some experience.

“I got a couple of training sessions with Pirlo, Villa and Frank Lampard (who also spent some time at NYC).

“You just watch in awe at some of the stuff they do.

“I don’t think Villa missed a goal once in the finishing, he is special.

“I also trained with Kaka too. It was fantastic as they are all special players.

“Football in America is growing so fast but I am happy to be at Aberdeen.

“I just want to give everything I can at Aberdeen and develop my own game.

“Ideally I want to get a bit of momentum and maybe win a cup.

“To get silverware here would be brilliant.

“I didn’t get much of an opportunity last year but being around the team that won the MLS Cup and I was in and around the dressing room when that happened was a cool experience.”

Although Gallagher is on loan until January, there is an option to extend that to the whole season.

He said: “I am here until January.

“I think there is the option to extend it but it will be dependent on the two clubs.

“The MLS season is a little different as it will start up again in January.”

The Irishman, born in Dundalk, made an impressive Dons debut in the 0-0 friendly draw with Connah’s Quay Nomads in Cork on Saturday.

He played at left wing, right wing and right back.

Gallagher was the only outfield player to complete an entire 90 minutes.

He was given the extended game time because he played competitively with his parent club just two weeks earlier.

The Dons face Peterhead at Balmoor tomorrow.

Gallagher will again likely feature prominently as the Dons continue the build up to the Europa League tie with RoPS Rovaniemi.

Gallagher insists the group stages are the target and is adamant the Dons can have a memorable European campaign.

He said: “European football is a brilliant opportunity for the club.

“The group stages is the target.

“That is something that has been said within the group and we are going to give it our all when it comes around.

“If we get a bit of momentum and the fans get behind us we can make something special happen.”

Such was Gallagher’s reputation as a teenager he had trials at Juventus, Olympique Marseille, Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United.

Aberdeen legend Bobby Clark then took him to America to play for University of Notre Dame in the college system.

Primarily utilised as a striker at Notre Dame, Gallagher scored 36 goals in 63 starts and pitched in with 15 assists.

He graduated from the Indiana-based University with a business degree.

This was before moving to Atlanta United following his selection as the No 14 pick in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft.

Gallagher played 29 games for Atlanta United 2 in his first year as a professional, he started 26 matches and finished the season with a team-best six goals and added five assists.

This term he’s made eight starts for Atlanta United 2, who are managed by former Dons winger Stephen Glass, scoring once and assisting once.

Gallagher said: “In college I played a bit more off the shoulder and got a couple of goals too.

“However at the next level I see myself playing as more of a wide player.”

Gallagher was primarily signed as a right-back to bolster a position where the only other first team option is Shaleum Logan.

However, he started the friendly in Cork on the right wing and quickly forged a partnership with Logan down that flank. He later switched to the left wing and impressed there before finishing the match at right-back.

Having recently played competitively with Atlanta United 2 only last month, Gallagher is fully fit and match sharp with the Europa League clash just nine days away.

He said: “I have come out to Aberdeen to try to do the very best that I can.

“Pre-season has been great for me as all the players and staff have been very welcoming.

“The players have been very supportive.

“It is always good to get the minutes under my belt and get to know the guys a bit better.

“It is one thing to do it in training but it is a little different in a match.”