Boss Derek McInnes is confident signing for Aberdeen will keep alive Ronald Hernandez’s Copa America dream.
Capped 15 times by Venezuela the right-back has been named in the preliminary 39-man squad to face Colombia and Paraguay in World Cup South America qualifiers later this month
That is despite only 72 minutes of action for the Dons first team since signing on January 31.
Hernandez has been working towards full match fitness in recent weeks.
When signing from Stabaek he had not played since December 1, when the Norwegian season ended.
Hernandez came on as a late substitute in the 3-1 defeat of Hibs.
Venezuela manager José Peseiro will whittle down the squad for the World Cup South America group ties.
Venezuela have also qualified for the Copa America this summer – and Hernandez aims to be on the flight to the finals.
McInnes said: “When we signed Hernandez he was keen to keep playing and remain a part of that international set-up with Venezuela.
“You have to remember we brought him here in January with the understanding he hadn’t played for seven or eight weeks.
“His body was in pre-season.
“Due to the games we have had midweek and the demand of those games Ronald has not really been able to get match practice.
“His fitness is very good and his enthusiasm and desperation to play are very clear.
“The games have been so important of late we didn’t have the luxury of just being able to throw him in and have the patience to get him up to speed
“Ronald will play his part between now and the end of the season and it is great to have that exciting option from a defensive area.
“He will prove his worth, I have no doubt about that.”
Venezuela begin the World Cup qualifying campaign in a 10-team South American group when facing Colombia away in Barranquilla, on March 26.
They then host Paraguay the following Tuesday.
That will be Venezuela’s last game before meeting holders Brazil in the Copa America finals on June 14.
Venezuela play in a Group B (North Zone) against Brazil, hosts Columbia, Qatar, Ecuador and Peru.
Hernandez signed at Pittodrie on transfer deadline day having already experienced a Copa America finals.
He was introduced as a substitute in the 0-0 draw with Peru in the opening group game.
The full-back then started the 0-0 draw with Brazil and the 3-1 defeat of Bolivia.
Hernandez again started in the 2-0 quarter-final loss to Argentina, going against stars like Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero.
Hernandez stepped up what has effectively been a pre-season in recent weeks when playing all 90 minutes of the 3-1 Reserve Cup semi-final defeat of Motherwell on February 20.
McInnes said: “He showed exactly what we thought he would – a willingness to get forward as an exciting full-back.
“There was good tenacity when one v one. We are trying to be understanding that he was a bit short of match fitness before we put him back in again.”
Having came off the bench against Hibs, Hernandez is closing in on that full match fitness.
McInnes insists that when the full-back gets his chance the 22-year-old has to grab it.
He said: “Shay (Logan) is having a good run of form in games.
“Ronald is getting closer.
“But I pick the team to win each and every game.
“Some boys, like Ronald, for whatever reason are having to wait for their chance.
“But when they go in it is important he takes that opportunity.”