Dan Jefferies “loved every second” of his first-team chance last season and has vowed to grab any chance he gets this campaign with both hands.
The 19-year-old featured in the two final home matches of last season, as a substitute in a 1-0 win over Hamilton before starting the home defeat to Partick Thistle that concluded the campaign.
The Welshman, who started his career in Swansea’s youth academy, joined the Dark Blues in January after leaving Colchester United and impressed in the U/20s team that narrowly missed out on the Development League title.
He also grabbed a goal in last week’s Irn-Bru Cup win over Hibs Colts for the Dundee youth side and says he thinks he’s ready for another shot at first-team football.
Though, he admits jokingly, he might have to calm himself next time he’s out on the pitch in the senior game.
Describing his time in the first team last season, he said: “I loved every second of it – once you step on that pitch everything is mad, it’s crazy and you don’t know what to do!
“You need to calm yourself down a bit but I’m buzzing to have played for the first team and, hopefully, I can get more chances this season.
“I think I’m ready to make the step up.
“With the players in front of me in my position, I’m always learning from them, they are always helping me and everyone around the training ground is helping me.
“If I do get a chance this year, I’ll give my all and I think I am ready for it – I’ll definitely take it with both hands and I won’t look back.”
As a centre-back, Jefferies certainly has plenty of competition to get through ahead of him.
As far as central defenders go, the Dark Blues boast an array of experience – Steven Caulker being an England international and former Liverpool and Spurs defender, Darren O’Dea won numerous trophies at Celtic, Josh Meekings is a Scottish Cup winner and Genseric Kusunga has two Swiss league titles to his name.
For Jefferies, that doesn’t pose an insurmountable hurdle but rather gives him an ideal opportunity to learn from players who have been there and done it.
He added: “In training if you make a mistake, they don’t really get on to you, they encourage more than anything.
“They want everyone to improve every day and because I’m young, I’m 19, I look up to the likes of Steven Caulker, Darren O’Dea, Josh Meekings and Gense – I mean, they’ve got some amount of experience.
“I hope they can share it with me and I can move on with them.”
After making the move north, Jefferies has settled into life quickly in Dundee and says the possibility of first-team football at a club with the stature of the Dark Blues was a big draw for him.
“It was a quick six months at Colchester before the opportunity came about up here,” he added.
“It’s a good club, I love it here, the people are friendly and I think I can learn more up here and maybe break into the first team.
“The manager definitely gives young players a chance if he thinks they deserve it.
“He believes in the youngsters and I am very grateful for the chance I had last season.
“Hopefully, I can get more this year.
“We play the same way as the first team and it’s all the same at Dundee so it’s not too much of a step up from reserve football but it’s older men with experience and you just have to put yourself about.”