Leighton Clarkson is adamant his loan move to Aberdeen has been beneficial to his development despite the team’s recent struggles.
The 21-year-old midfielder has been a regular starter since moving to Pittodrie on a season-long agreement from Liverpool in the summer.
The last few months in particular have been challenging as the Dons have struggled for form since the World Cup and recently sacked manager Jim Goodwin, but Clarkson insists the whole experience is making him a more rounded footballer.
“It’s been really beneficial so far,” said the former England Under-20 international. “I’m getting the game time I wanted and I’ve played in a couple of different positions that will stand me in good stead. It’s a tough league to play in, especially as a young boy but I’ve really enjoyed it.
“When we were going through the bad patch, it was new for me because I’d never experienced that before. I spoke to a couple of people and they said the same thing, that it’s another experience that I can take away with me so that if it happens again a few years down the line I’ll know how to deal with it better.
“I’ve learned a lot since I’ve been here. It’s a different league, different to what I’m used to.
“I’ve played for Liverpool my whole career since I was younger so I’ve only really known one way of playing. But coming up here and working under Jim and then Baz (caretaker Barry Robson), it’s different ideas, different ways of trying to win games of football. Everything I’m doing here is helping me become a better player.”
Aberdeen were third in the cinch Premiership at the World Cup break but have slipped into the bottom six after winning only two of their last 13 games in all competitions. The seventh-placed Dons are three points behind sixth-placed Livingston, whom they host this Saturday.
“Obviously before the World Cup we were in a great position but after that we’ve slipped up a bit,” said Clarkson. “There’s a lot going on at the club but everyone in the camp is really happy.
“Baz has come in and given us ideas about how he wants to play, and everyone’s buying into it. We’re working for him and the club to try and get into the top six and once we get in there, anything can happen.”