Kai Fotheringham opens up on Dundee United form, Jim Goodwin impact, Scotland U21 call-up and his 'jeez, wow' moment
The Dundee United winger has been included in Scot Gemmill’s Scotland U-21 squad for the upcoming games against Belgium and Hungary but despite dazzling for the Tannadice club and picking up plaudits as well as a Player of the Month award, he admits he has still been taken aback by the standard of some of his squad-mates.
“It’s been brilliant. The players here are playing at a really high level and, already, seeing some of the stuff [Liverpool’s Ben] Doak could do in training was unbelievable. It was a bit surreal! You’ve just got to learn what you can from training alongside players like that and hopefully take it into the games going forward, and then back to United.
“It can only lift your standards and it’s about taking little things from their game and adding that, and there are other things that they can maybe take from you.”
Thrilled to be selected for international honours, the 20-year-old reveals that it took him a minute to ease into the set-up but now hopes he can do enough to convince his Scotland gaffer to give him game time.
“It can be a bit uncomfortable at first because you don’t know a lot of the boys, but I’m lucky enough to know Jack Newman [United’s No.2 keeper] and Lewis Neilson, who was at Dundee United with me when I was younger. They have helped me settle in and, although it can be awkward at first, I’m getting more comfortable and really enjoying it.
“My stats so far have shown what I can do and, in my own mind, I know what I am capable of. Everyone at United knows that, too. It’s just about me believing in myself and taking that into [Scotland] training sessions and games, and impressing different coaches and staff with what I am capable of.”
He has long since won over his club boss Jim Goodwin, who gave him nine of his 11 appearances in the Premiership last season, and, despite the club slipping into the Championship, Fortheringham has kicked on this term, scoring seven goals and contributing five assists in 17 appearances in all competitions.
“The gaffer has been brilliant for me. Just feeling part of the first-team has made a huge difference. When you are coming through the academy, you don’t always feel like you have that security behind you. This year, I feel I’ve taken my chances, been really consistent and managed to impact games.”
And, his contributions have been noticed, earning the humble and grounded youngster the October player of the month accolade.
“I didn’t expect it. There are so many players doing brilliantly. Glenn [Middleton] and Holty [Kevin Holt] were brilliant in October so when the gaffer told me, my reaction was, “jeez, wow” more than anything. That’s not really sunk in. To follow that with a goal against Dunfermline and a call-up on Sunday night has been an incredible week. But we all know how quickly football can change and I just need to keep at it.”
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