Why Dante Polvara can improve Aberdeen, double hernia injury and Scottish football VAR quip

Dante Polvara has already witnessed plenty in his time at Aberdeen, having arrived from Georgetown Hoyas in January – even if he has been on the pitch for just 11 minutes.

A second-half substitute appearance during the 1-0 defeat to Rangers at Ibrox earlier this month finally saw the American make his debut for the Dons.

For the best college player in the United States, it has been an eye-opening start to life in Scotland and European football.

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Not only has he been hampered by a hernia issue, he has had to deal with Stephen Glass, who oversaw his signing, depart without turning out for him and be replaced by Jim Goodwin, something the 21-year-old called a “shock” but is aware he has a “clean slate” under the new boss.

Those issues don’t appear to have dampened his spirits. He spoke openly, and with a beaming smile, of his route to Aberdeen, the “worst” feeling of sitting in the stands knowing he can’t influence the match and why he can help the team on the field.

It is clear Aberdeen have a confident but hugely personable personality in their squad, one who is desperate to make an impact on the pitch having returned early from a double hernia operation which involved a small keyhole incision.

"It would be brilliant if it was Saturday but if not then the next few weeks, I can’t wait," Polvara said of a possible Pittodrie debut. “Especially the feeling when scoring goals, it would be amazing to be out on the field with the boys.

“My best attribute has always been my passing ability and my ability to open the field, that is something we could do with, some quality in the final third, picking out a pass or a cross.

Dante Polvara joined Aberdeen in January. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

“I also have an ability to get from box-to-box and to be a two-way midfielder. That energy is what the gaffer is looking for.

“I know from my experience I don’t like playing against guys who never stop running. Having that energy and physical presence is good but you also need a calmness when you have the ball at your feet and to change the game and make things happen."

Polvara has admitted the presence of fellow American Christian Ramirez has been “more important than you might even understand”, helping him adapt on and off the field, even if the striker sometimes can’t relay what some of the Scottish players say.

His view on Scottish football, however, is a positive one.

Polvara made his debut for Aberdeen as a second-half substitute against Rangers. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

“The standard is very high and something I would have been exposed to when training with some of the top MLS teams," Polvara said.

"I expected a more physical game, guys who are not afraid to get into you, get dirty on the ground. I knew I had to be ready for that.

“You don’t have VAR to save you from a nasty challenge, do you? So you’ve just got to be ready for those sorts of things and be strong about it.

"I think it’s good because it builds character, it definitely tests you and I know I am going to have to face some sort of adversity. I’m excited for it.”

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