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David Goodwillie joins Aberdeen

The forward joined United as a youth player and spent eight years at Tannadice. Picture: Robert Perry

The forward joined United as a youth player and spent eight years at Tannadice. Picture: Robert Perry

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes is confident David Goodwillie will thrive at Pittodrie if he invests the same effort that is coming his way.

McInnes beat the likes of St Johnstone and Kilmarnock to Goodwillie’s signature after losing out to Rangers on his attempts to add Kris Boyd to his strikeforce.

The 25-year-old is looking to revive his career after failing to live up to expectations following a £2million move to Blackburn in August 2011.

And McInnes feels a rejuvenated Aberdeen squad is the right environment for his former Dundee United team-mate.

McInnes told a press conference: “When I played with him when he was younger, I always felt he was destined to have a top career.

“It wasn’t so long ago that he had a big-money move and a lot was expected of him. For whatever reason, it’s not quite happened for him.

“He’s coming into a team that’s going the right way and is full of good players. I think he’ll thrive playing with the players we have at the club.”

Goodwillie does not come without off-field baggage having twice been convicted of assault and once charged with rape in 2011 before the case was dropped.

On the park, Goodwillie has struggled to live up to his early promise. He scored only five goals in 34 appearances at Ewood Park, the last of which was on the final day of the 2012-13 season.

Goodwillie, who also had a loan spell with Crystal Palace, hit six goals on loan at Tannadice last season, but latterly struggled for a regular starting spot, and then struck three times with Blackpool.

He had one year remaining on his Rovers contract, but agreed to terminate it last month and was recently training with St Johnstone.

But McInnes is determined to give Goodwillie every chance to return to the form that earned him three Scotland caps.

“Every signing could be seen as a gamble,” McInnes said. “I get the feeling that if he invests in us the way we are going to invest in him, we’ll give him every opportunity to be the player he can be.

“Every player has got to feel valued, you have got to feel the confidence of your coaches and manager, and I think that’s something he has possibly missed.

“A lot of time he has trained Monday to Friday knowing he’s not playing on Saturday and sometimes that can be difficult.

“He’s got to work hard and show us he’s willing to be a success here, and if he gives us that, we’ll certainly give him that and more.”

McInnes, who revealed it was the quickest deal he had worked on, added: “His desire to play for the club and come and work with ourselves and good players excited him.”

Goodwillie was not available to speak to the media but he revealed in an interview with the club’s Red TV how he had “jumped” at the chance to sign for Aberdeen and be reunited with McInnes and assistant Tony Docherty.

He said: “Tony was my reserve coach at Dundee United when I was growing up and he was always good to me and helped me progress.

“Derek was the captain when I was 16 and 17 and I always had a lot of respect for him because he was always nice to the young boys.”

Goodwillie, who is not eligible to play in the second leg of Aberdeen’s Europa League clash with Daugava Riga on Thursday, will provide competition for the likes of Adam Rooney and Niall McGinn following the departures of Calvin Zola, Josh Magennis and Scott Vernon.

 

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