Dante Polvara's journey to Aberdeen via Chelsea as he namechecks ex-Rangers boss as 'role model'

Dante Polvara has ambitions. The American midfielder arrived in Aberdeen in January achieving a long-held aspiration of reaching European football. But listening to his positivity and enthusiasm it is hard to look past Pittodrie being viewed as a staging post in his career.

Since moving from the collegiate game in the United States, having been voted the best in the country at that level, the 21-year-old has made just two substitute appearances, not helped by a hernia issue. Yet, it is easy to be convinced he could make an impact sooner rather than later.

Polvara is an athletic, forward-thinking “two-way” midfielder who views his best attribute as his “passing ability”.

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But what may give the player an advantage in acclimatising to football in the UK is his previous on these shores.

Dante Polvara in action for Aberdeen. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

As a youngster he rubbed shoulders with the likes of Reece James, Connor Gallagher and Callum Hudson-Odoi at Chelsea, providing him with valuable experience of European football and whetting his appetite to get back to the UK, one way or another.

’You fancy a bit of that’

"When I was young, between 10 and 12, I would come over and train with Chelsea’s academy because we had a few links between my hometown club and their academy," he said.

"Some coaches were doing work over here and vice versa so that relationship made it easier for us. When you go to Chelsea you realise what it is like and all you want to do is come over here.

Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard are favourites of Dante Polvara. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

"You fancy a bit of that. You see these guys make it then it can be very inspiring. It is something you want to get involved in.”

He added: “We would attend tournaments back in the States, massive tournaments like the Dallas clubs and big European clubs would send teams over. We would get to play against them and a lot of times my team would match up very well.

"As a young boy all you do is watch European football at the end of the day. You watch the Premier League, the Champions League and for me that’s always the goal, to make it as far as you can and reach your potential whatever that may be.

"I’ve always believed that if you are to reach that potential it is likely to be over in Europe, in the UK somewhere. Definitely something I wanted to happen and when I knew there was an opportunity I jumped at it.”

'Stevie G’

Polvara showed a rebellious nature through his choice of football team, choosing one to rival his dad’s love of Liverpool. Even still, an Anfield legend remains a role model with Steven Gerrard’s departure from Aberdeen’s rivals Rangers timely.

“I never wanted to support the same team as him being a youngster," he said. “When I went to Chelsea I had the excuse to be a Chelsea supporter.

"Regardless, Stevie G has also been a role model. Watching him as a leader and a player he is someone I still strive to carry those same characteristics. Also, Frank Lampard at Chelsea was huge.

"I could only imagine what it was like to be in their position one day.”

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