BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
ABERDEEN legend Willie Miller has revealed that Scotland debutant Ryan Fraser was so desperate to realise his dream of becoming a professional footballer that he didn’t even read his first contract.
Miller was director of football with the Dons when Fraser was rising through the ranks and still recalls the 5ft4ins winger being forced to bely his small stature and prove the doubters wrong.
He reckons that what Fraser lacked in height, he more than made up for in drive and work ethic – and that ensured he as always going to make the grade, starting with that first senior deal in 2010.
And although Miller regrets that Aberdeen never got to see the best of him before he joined Bournemouth in a £400,000 deal in January 2013, he was delighted to see Fraser hit another major landmark by winning his first cap against England in Saturday.
He told BBC Scotland: “Ryan Fraser is a great example of a player who had to fight his way through all of his development years.
“He was a player that always came on to my desk with a question mark – because he is tiny! He is.
“A lot of the coaches said to me ‘I don’t think he has enough to go to the next stage’. But you would look at his attitude and it was so good that you couldn’t possibly deny him the opportunity to go for another year.
“He just kept earning an extra year. Ryan was so desperate to be a professional footballer and, when we were offering him a professional contract, I took him and his parents up to a box that overlooks the pitch, like I did with a number of other players.
“I had a contract in an envelope and I said ‘you are going to be a professional footballer’ – he was delighted – ‘so go home and read this and then come back on Monday and tell me what you think’. He said ‘no’. He wanted to sign it right away.
“I said ‘son, you haven’t read it yet!’ He was so desperate to sign that and become a footballer, so he just took it out there and then and signed it.
“He didn’t actually come through to be a regular first team player at Aberdeen before he was dragged away to Bournemouth, which is disappointing, when you spend that amount of time developing someone.
“But it is so good to see players like Ryan come through.”