The man who gave Ryan Hedges his chance in senior football says the winger will thrive trying to help the Dons reach the Europa League group stages.
Aberdeen take on Rijeka tonight in the first leg of the third qualifying round in Croatia.
After netting the winner in Sunday’s 3-2 victory over Hearts – his first goal for the club – Hedges is expected to feature this evening.
Paul Davies, as manager of Flint Town United in the Welsh Championship, gave the 24-year-old his chance in senior football as a teenager during the 2012-13 season.
With Aberdeen looking to get the better of Rijeka and move into the Europa League play-off round, where they will face AEK Larnaca of Cyprus or Belgians Gent, Davies believes Hedges can be key.
He said: “I believe the better quality players he plays with and against it makes him better, it brings more out of him.
“Ryan glides across the pitch, he’s natural and good with both feet.
“He’s got a little bit of something different which can be important in Europe.
“He’ll create things for his team-mates and will always be good to chip in with a goal.
“When Ryan joined Aberdeen I felt to get the best out of him he would need a consistent run of games.
“It seems like he’s been getting that so far and Aberdeen have been reaping the rewards.
“When he played for Wales – although it was only against Trinidad and Tobago (in March) – he was excellent and it seems to be the bigger the stage the better he becomes.
“Aberdeen have a chance to get into the group stages and Ryan will relish that.
“I really hope they get there because it will be great for Aberdeen as a club, but also for Ryan as well.
“We’re all thrilled with the progress he’s making and long may it continue.”
Davies believes performing in Europe can also help Hedges add to his three caps for Wales.
He added: “Wales have a lot of good young players emerging and hopefully Ryan is one of them.
“Playing in the Europa League and the Scottish Premiership will hopefully help Ryan get more chances.
“Ryan Giggs (Wales manager) has given him a chance already, so I’m hopeful he’ll be in the next Wales squad (for matches in September against Azerbaijan and Belarus).”
Davies and others from Flint Town have been keeping a close eye on Hedges’ fledgling Pittodrie career and were thrilled to see him hit his first goal for the Dons on Sunday.
He said: “I’ve been watching as many of the Aberdeen games as I can and everyone at the club’s been the same.
“On Sunday he came on as a sub and certainly made an impact.
“What a finish it was against Hearts from Ryan to win the game.
“We’ve seen he’s been playing in Europe as well and creating chances.
“Everyone at Flint Town was made up when he got the winner – the scenes of celebration with the fans were great to see.
“It was a great way for him to score his first goal and it’s one he’ll never forget.”