DUNDEE United striker David Goodwillie needs to relax if he wants to rediscover his scoring touch, team-mate John Rankin has claimed.
The on-loan Blackburn striker has scored just once since returning to Tannadice in the summer and was dropped for last week’s 4-2 win over Ross County. But midfielder Rankin believes the Scotland international – who made just six starts at Ewood Park after his £2million move south – is trying too hard to impress the United support that grew to idolise him in his first goal-laden spell with the club.
“Goodie will work hard no matter what,” said Rankin. “He knows himself what he needs to do to get back in the team and I don’t see him dropping his standards. When he was dropped last Sunday, he was the first to wish the lads luck and the sort of person he is. He will just roll his sleeves up and work to get back in the side.
“I don’t think he has got a confidence issue. It is always hard when you have not played games for so long to come back and try to find your sharpness. But we see in training every day how good he is. I don’t honestly know what is going on with him but I’d like to see him back to the Goodie of old. Maybe he’s trying a bit too hard. When that happens it doesn’t come off for you. Maybe if he just relaxes a bit things will comer easier to him.”
United welcome Motherwell to Tayside tomorrow still buoyant from last week’s Scottish Premiership victory in Dingwall. The star of the show against County was 17-year-old midfielder Ryan Gauld and Rankin claims the teenager is among the best young talents he has seen. He said: “The wee man is brilliant. He’s so small and looks like he could be flung about. But he is so strong for a boy of his stature. His wee legs go like the clappers and then he has got that incredible football brain as well.
“He is up there with the best young boys I’ve seen. It’s funny because, in training when he does something, we all just stop and laugh. He’s sticking the ball through lads’ legs for fun and all you can do is chuckle. When it happens to yourself you have to shake your head because he is such a nice lad. Anybody else, you would go smash them. He has everything going for him and is not the type of boy to let any of the things that have been said about him go to his head.”
Meanwhile, Motherwell captain Keith Lasley is happy to continue in relative anonymity this season as the Lanarkshire side take their three-match winning run to Tannadice. Motherwell sit third in the Scottish Premiership with 12 points from six games – the exact same total as they had at this stage last year. But league leaders Inverness have taken more of the plaudits, while there has also been a lot of recent focus on the likes of an improving Aberdeen and Dundee United, who have twice hit four goals.
And Lasley is happy to keep winning under the radar. He said: “I think expectations have certainly risen at this club. People maybe expect us to be up there, which is great. You want to be at a club that’s aiming as high as possible.
“Aberdeen have certainly signed some really good players and Inverness, what a start for them, it’s great. But we just want to go about our business. We are certainly not going to shout from the rooftops that we are doing this or that. We are just happy to try to keep steadily improving.”