Louis Appere once worried he’d never make the grade at Dundee United, now the youngster is living the dream.
This time last year Appere was on loan at junior side Broughty Athletic but fast forward 12 months and he is a Championship winner and the club’s hottest prospect.
The 21-year-old attacker impressed last term, scoring six goals in 33 top-team appearances, and is, undoubtedly, the club’s Young Player of the Year.
The 2019/20 campaign also brought with it a call-up to the Scotland U/21 fold, even if the coronavirus stopped him picking up a cap.
However, it hasn’t always been plain sailing for the Fifer – who has been at the club since 2017 – and he admits at one point he thought his dream was over.
“It’s the dream, isn’t it? You sign for Dundee United but then after a couple years I hadn’t really broke through at all into the first team,” he said.
“When I went to Broughty it was a period I thought: ‘This could be it, the dream could be ending soon,’ but I never gave up hope.
“How could I not think like that when you’re going to the juniors on loan? I probably did think that was the end for me at United.
“I was keen to go out on loan and play more games that weren’t reserve games but when I heard it was the junior leagues I was worried even scoring the amount I did wouldn’t impress the manager.
“That was my worry, I would ask the reserve coach at the time, Craig Easton: ‘Is the manager going to be interested in me and watching me when I go here?’
“He assured me he would and he was. He was always asking how I was getting on and that was reassuring.
“That helped me stay motivated to keep going and give it a last try and it went well there.”
Appere is now relishing his role in Robbie Neilson’s side and puts his turnaround in fortunes down to his improved confidence.
He added: “I get asked about the Broughty thing a lot and how I got to where I am now.
“I think a lot of it for me has been down to confidence. Scoring goals at any level breeds confidence and that was the case for me.
“Before when I trained with the first team I’d be worried about making a mistake and that was all I could think about: ‘Do not make a mistake,’ but you can’t be like that.
“Last pre-season I just came in wanting to run at people and try things because that’s what I’d been doing in the juniors and it seemed to work.
“It’s nice getting all that recognition now after all the hard work I’ve put in.
“It’s a nice reward for it but I need to keep going now and keep pushing.
“It’s only been one season and, although I’m 21 and it’s young, in football it’s not – it’s relatively old for a young player to have their first season.
“I just need to keep pushing on, get new experiences and keep going.”