Robbie Neilson has revealed Ian Harkes is in line for a US national team call-up.
Harkes is set to sign a two-year deal with Dundee United after helping the Tannadice club to the Championship title.
Neilson is delighted to have secured an agreement with the American midfielder.
And, after Harkes’ growing hopes of a USA call-up last season were wrecked by the coronavirus shutdown, the United boss reckons Premiership football will give his international profile the boost it needs.
“It was a shame for Ian because the kid is on US Soccer’s radar,” said Neilson.
“There was a bit of interest in them coming across to watch him in a couple of games before the end of the season.
“Ian has a good reputation from his own time in America and the national team are definitely looking at him.
“If we could get him into the US national team then it would be phenomenal, with the level they are at.
“Ian ticks a lot of boxes for them. He is a good age, he is young, athletic and he has his whole career ahead of him.
“He has played in the MLS and the Scottish Championship and now he is part of winning a team.
“He is a player that has so much potential and I can definitely see why they are looking at him.
“Ian is a young player who has developed hugely since he came in.
“He was over in the US and he had played a bit but not as much as he wanted.
“He had come over and had to adapt to the physicality of Scottish football.
“There have been a lot of players who come over from the MLS and really kicked on their careers. “Ian is now another who has been great for us and hopefully he can continue that in the top-flight.”
United, like Scotland’s other divisional champions, were unable to properly celebrate last season’s success.
However, their manager admits he took the time to offer a “well done” to his fellow gaffers – and vice versa.
Neilson said: “I’ve had a few nice calls of congratulations from people in the game since we won the league so that has been nice.
“I have also made a few myself as I know Paul Hartley well at Cove Rangers and John McGlynn at Raith Rovers.
“We all said the same thing, that it wasn’t the way any of us were wanting the season to finish, but it is what it is. We just have to enjoy it for a short spell before you start looking to build for the new season.
“You have that bit of success but then it is always on to the next thing but with the current circumstances it has been difficult to do that.”
Neilson hasn’t had his feet up, however.
Instead, the United boss found himself pressed into action by the SFA’s coach education department, who tapped into his expertise to support the next generation of Scottish gaffers.
“The SFA have asked me if I could help them out on a couple of courses,” explained Neilson.
“I did the ‘B’ licence last week and the week of the 8th I am also doing the ‘A’ licence for them.
“It is strange because normally it is an on-site course but this year, because of the circumstances, they have had to do it remotely over Zoom.
“I did a wee bit for them last year and I did a bit for the ‘Pro’ licence a couple of months ago.
“It is good and keeps you busy. Quite a lot of coaches help out. Steve Kean is doing a bit, as is Shelley Kerr and I think Jack Ross is also doing the A as well.
“None of our players are on it but Frederic Frans was on the ‘B’ licence, who used to be at United.”