At just 23, Dundee new boy James Horsfield has already played abroad and learned under the tutelage of two of the greats of the game in Pep Guardiola and Patrick Vieira.
And he’s planning to put all he’s learned in his short career so far to use for the Dens Park club as he bids to help them out of relegation trouble.
Having signed just over a week ago on loan from Scunthorpe, Horsfield has had to wait to make his debut for the Dark Blues but could be in line for his first run-out today at Hamilton.
New Douglas Park, however, will be a far cry from the state-of-the-art training complex next to Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium where Horsfield learnt his trade.
He said: “I was at Man City from the age of seven and saw everything happen at the club.
“I left at 21 or 22 so I was there a long time and saw all the money get invested.
“When I first turned up we were just training like a normal team but then I saw the new training ground getting built and they were amazing facilities.
“Then Pep came in and changed everything.
“The way he plays football is unbelievable, I think the whole world has seen that. But it has a knock-on effect as the reserves and U/18s start playing that way and it is only going to breed good footballers.
“Patrick Vieira was the manager when I broke into the reserves and I went away a couple of times with the first team under Manuel Pellegrini, was on the bench a couple of times, and then Pep Guardiola came in.
“I went to China with him and the first team. I didn’t manage to make a game but it was just a fantastic experience training with them.
“Every day was incredible.
“It’s just like ‘wow, this is football’ and it was amazing – in that short space of time, two months or so, with Pep you learn more than you do in three years elsewhere.”
Horsfield left City on loan initially for Holland before signing permanently with NAC Breda before heading back to the UK to join Scunthorpe United.
“Holland was brilliant, I had a great experience out there playing for NAC Breda,” he added.
“I really enjoyed every minute out there and I just wanted to come back to England and forge a career and I’ve now come up here.
“I’m not one to shy away. I came because of the club, the manager seems a great guy. He spoke to me on the phone before I came but, at the end of the day, it’s all about playing football and that’s all I want to do.
“I’m hoping I can make my debut today.
“Of course, the manager makes the decisions but he knows I’m ready and raring to go.”
Horsfield is comfortable playing full-back on both sides as well as midfield and says he hopes his versatility – and experience of a relegation battle – can help him get the game-time he craves.
He added: “I can play in midfield, I can play right-back and left-back, all over really.
“In Holland I played a lot at right-back and left-back, went to Scunthorpe and played 15 games in midfield so I’m happy wherever he puts me – just happy to be playing.
“I’ve been in this situation before in Holland where we were down near the bottom.
“It’s about performing under pressure but every footballer has to do that at some stage of their career. We need to get results now.
“The fans want to see results, the manager wants results so, hopefully, we can pull together as a team.
“It will take the whole squad to do it but let’s put in a big performance tomorrow and get a result.”