Former Aberdeen player Scott Morrison says Allan Russell is the man to get the Dons attacking play up to scratch.
Strikers coach Russell, who has been heralded for his influence within Gareth Southgate’s England setup, has had talks about working under new Aberdeen manager Stephen Glass.
It’s understood the 40-year-old former Hamilton, St Mirren and Kilmarnock forward, who knows Glass from their time together at Carolina RailHawks in the US, has been given permission by Southgate to take up a dual role.
Russell is expected to make his final decision after England play Poland in World Cup qualifying on Wednesday.
Morrison, who is based in the US and became friends with Russell when he was with USL side Arizona United and the latter was with Orange County Blues, said: “He’s a really good guy and I could see why he’d be really sought after.
“If you’re wanting to bring exciting attacking football back to Aberdeen, you’re going to have to put a serious focus on attacking play, making sure you’re getting your forwards service, getting forwards in the right area, making the right runs. You need lots of repetitions.
“Noticeably at Aberdeen recently, they’ve not been scoring a lot of goals, and so that’s going to be an important part of what Stephen’s trying to do – creating more opportunities.
“It takes a system of play for the whole team, but will also take forwards getting in the right areas and making the right runs. I’m sure the goals will come off the back of that.”
California-based Morrison, who played as a full-back for the Dons between 2003 and 2005, is in a unique position as an Aberdeen fan when it comes to the new management team. He knows potential addition Russell well, and has also played with new gaffer Glass at Dunfermline and starred with incoming player-coach Scott Brown, the Celtic captain, for Scotland Under-21s.
The 36-year-old revealed he was aware of “hard worker” Russell’s ideas around striker specific coaching, which developed into his Superior Striker system – and helped Harry Kane win the golden boot at the 2018 World Cup, almost a decade ago.
Morrison said: “Whenever we’d play in Orange County when I was at Arizona United, we’d always get together after the game. One time on a Sunday we got the families together for a barbecue.
“He was great and somebody who certainly had real ambition in life and it’s shown.
“He was quite involved in the USL team, on and off the field, and tried to get me to OC Blues, play for them and to help him with his striker academy, which was getting a lot more successful at the time.
“I was desperate to move and join him. It didn’t quite work out and not long after that he moved back to England – and it all took off from there.
“I could see what he was doing in Orange County with his private training. It was different and he was thinking differently, with very specific training and work on positional play for forwards.
“It was something no-one else was doing at the time. He created a huge profile on social media as well.
“It became a huge success and, when he moved back to England, he transferred what he was doing into the professional game.
“He started working with some really high-profile players and never looked back from there.”
Stephen Glass ‘absolutely qualified’ for Aberdeen job
Critics of Stephen Glass’ appointment as Derek McInnes’ replacement at Aberdeen have pointed to the fact the former Dons player has never had a permanent first-team manager’s role.
However, having played in the USL, America’s second tier, for three years, Scott Morrison thinks Glass’ experience in charge of Atlanta United’s reserves in the division has been the perfect preparation to lead Aberdeen.
“Great guy” Glass guided Morrison when he was looking to move out to the US in 2012, suggesting he opted for the security of the second tier, which eventually led to Morrison linking up with another former Red, David Robertson, at Phoenix FC.
Glass will have been no stranger to expectation managing development side Atlanta United 2, according to Morrison, with pressure to “feed the MLS team and help develop the best players” in what is “a huge soccer area”.
Since arriving at Aberdeen, chairman Dave Cormack has been open about his desire to play an attractive, attacking style of football.
Morrison thinks Glass – who will also be tasked with refreshing the Dons’ squad, with several players out of contract in the summer – is “absolutely qualified” to blood fresh talent and deliver success with football which is easy on the eye.
The ex-full-back insists the USL is a “very strong league” and Glass being in charge of a team still learning the professional game means he will have been “up against it”.
Morrison said: “He will have been playing against teams which were a lot stronger than his. They will have had more seasoned professionals, while Stephen was working with a lot of younger players.
“He will have been up against it and tactically will have had to make sure his team was very organised and very disciplined to be able to compete in the USL Championship.”
He added: “With the USL team, it was more of a focus on development and bringing players through. That’s going to be important at Aberdeen and I’m sure the success he will bring will be from bringing players through, as well as focusing on the style of play and culture, which they created at Atlanta overnight.
“They created a great style of play and real culture at the club from nothing.
“Having been around that and experienced that, it’s going to be an important part at Aberdeen – changing the culture again and bringing back an attacking style of play fans want to see, that will bring fans back to Pittodrie.
“I’m sure everyone will be excited to see the team Stephen puts on the field.”