New signing Greg Leigh today vowed to use Aberdeen to return to the level where he could hold his own at Manchester City.
Left-back Leigh spent 10 years at the Premier League champions and worked under World Cup winner Patrick Vieira.
He also trained alongside world class stars such as Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero and never felt out of place.
Having signed on a season-long loan from Dutch side NAC Breda, he has vowed to reach those heights once again.
The 24-year-old insists that begins today in a friendly against Connah’s Quay Nomads in Cork as he wants to make an immediate impact.
Leigh said: “I wasn’t one of the top players at Manchester City but I could handle it there which gives your confidence a boost.
“It is such a high level at City and when I look back at that time, I was there at that level.
“When I was at a place like Bury and maybe wasn’t doing so well I could look back and say let’s get back to where I was – to that level where I was at Manchester City. That is where I am with Aberdeen as they have the right manager, the right players, good fans and strong footballing basis.
“Aberdeen have a lot of support to help a player be at their maximum. So it seems like a really good platform for me.”
Contracted at NAC Breda until summer 2021, Leigh has signed on loan until the end of the season with the option for the Dons to make that permanent at the end of the campaign.
He worked under Arsenal, Juventus and French legend Vieira at Manchester City as the World Cup winner was in charge of youth development from 2011.
In May 2013, Vieira was appointed as the club’s reserve team and elite development squad manager.
Leigh also played four times for Manchester City’s first team, in friendlies under Manuel Pellegrini in 2014.
He came on as a substitute for Gaël Clichy during a 3-0 win over Al Ain for his debut and also played against Dundee, Hearts and Sporting Kansas City.
“I learned a lot from my time at Manchester City,” he said.
“Especially towards the back end of my time there under Patrick Vieira, I learned the right way to play football.
“I also learned what people expect of you, especially the modern day full-back.
“By being at Manchester City I could look at others such as Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero and how they prepare.
“Then I catered it for myself.”
McInnes moved to sign Leigh when it looked like any decision on the potential availability of Derby County’s Max Lowe could drag way into the summer.
The Dons boss came close to securing Leigh in the January window and moved quickly this time to get him signed up for Europe.
Following his exit from Manchester City, Leigh went on to play for Bradford City and Bury before moving to NAC Breda in the Dutch top flight last season.
He made 16 appearances, scoring once, but Breda were relegated.
“Even though the season did not go to plan I learned a lot in Holland due to the football they play there,” he said.
“You probably learn more when you are down there (at the bottom of the league) than when you are at the top.
“When you are at the top you are almost just riding the wave.
“It was good for me to do research on myself in terms of football to learn as much as possible to be the best player I can be.”
Leigh is a player in a rush to make an impact and that begins today against Welsh side Connah’s Quay Nomads.
He said: “I don’t have the luxury of saying I want to take two or three games to get going as we are straight into Europe.
“Everyone wants to do as well as possible and so do I.
“I have to hit the ground running and that is why I have to give all I have and work really hard.”