Gothenburg Great Neil Simpson has vowed to produce exciting Dons talents with a winning mentality like Sir Alex Ferguson.
As head of Aberdeen’s youth academy, Simpson is dedicated to delivering skilful players for Derek McInnes’ first team.
However, he insists young talent will also have the will to win and determination that was a signature of Sir Alex’s legendary side that conquered Europe and dominated Scotland.
Aberdeen’s young guns are currently all training at home due to the lockdown restrictions in the Covid-19 crisis.
Simpson is confident the young Dons will return with even better skills.
Each young player has been given a programme to follow during the football shutdown which the SFA confirmed will extend until at least June 10.
Club legend Simpson, 58, said: “We need to develop the players but they need to have that winning mentality.
“You can do both, just like Sir Alex Ferguson and Archie Knox (Sir Alex’s assistant) did.
“You can develop the players, but also have that winning mentality and determination within them. Both can be done at the same time.”
The unprecedented situation due to the coronavirus pandemic has seen all Aberdeen players from the first team down to youth exiled from Cormack Park.
It offers an opportunity for youngsters to work on honing skills during individual practice sessions at home.
Simpson said: “We have homework programmes which my colleagues Gavin Levey and Liam McGarry are working on. That gets rolled out every week and the young players have tasks to do.
“It is excellent and I believe technically some of our players will be much better when we come back.
“That game awareness may be a little behind but left and right foot control will be even better due to drills and passing. We have a weekly training plan for all the kids such as activities for under-10s, 11s and 12s.
“Then there is a wee bit of mobility and speed work with 13s and 14s and after that age it goes up to quite hard work.
“All the kids are working on that programme to keep their fitness up. So that when we do go back it will be at a decent level and they will not be couch potatoes.
“it is keeping them active and fit while also working on technique for when we do go back.”
Aberdeen are well aware that the sense of community has been greatly restricted for young players due to social isolation.
In a bid to overcome that the club have introduced an element of competition to training plans.
Great examples of change of direction and pace exercises. Well done Chris. https://t.co/jR33jqRmq1
— Neil Simpson (@NeilSimmy8) May 3, 2020
Well done Cammy https://t.co/R3g7P7QpFQ
— Neil Simpson (@NeilSimmy8) April 29, 2020
Simpson said: “We set them challenges which might take a few hours of practice to actually get.
“What I like is the competition as the kids are trying to beat everyone else’s score.
“If they know their mate, for example, did 70 keepy-ups with their left foot, they are going to try to get 80 and will practice more.
“it is inspiring kids to get out in the back garden more and really work at their game.
“I know there are different sizes of garden but the activities the guys have come up with can be utilised in quite a small space.”
Aberdeen’s talented youngsters had reached two national cup finals before the shutdown of Scottish football at all levels on March 13.
The Under-18s were set to face Kilmarnock in the Scottish FA Youth Cup final at Hampden, having defeated Rangers 2-1 in the semi-final.
Aberdeen’s reserves were scheduled to play Celtic in the Reserve Cup final at Pittodrie just days before the shutdown.
There has been no indication when those finals will eventually be played.
Simpson said: “To get the opportunity to play at Pittodrie in a final would have been fantastic.
“They were expecting quite a big crowd for that one as Celtic had taken 1,000 tickets.
“The boys had a clear focus for that final. Playing in finals is where Aberdeen want to be.”