Ridiculously talented Lee Erwin could fulfil his promise for Ross County in Premiership this season
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STUART KETTLEWELL is tipping “ridiculously talented” Lee Erwin to fulfil his promise in the Premiership this season.
The former Motherwell, Leeds United and Kilmarnock striker returned to pre-season in slimline shape after shedding the pounds in lockdown.
Arriving at Ross County just over a year ago, he came without a pre-season behind him on the back of a miserable spell in Iranian football with Tractor, where he had been frozen out of the game for six months.
But Erwin has hit the ground running approaching his second season back in Scotland, with the County manager blown away by his impact so far.
Kettlewell said: “If you speak to anybody in the game who has worked with Lee, or come across him, he is ridiculously talented.
“He is a guy that can do things that mesmerise us.
“Having watched him on a daily basis he has got real talent and real strength.
“From speaking to Lee personally, I think he felt he was chasing his tail a little bit last season having not had the full pre-season.
“He has come back several kilos lighter than he was for pretty much all last season. He is moving far better about the pitch carrying a bit less weight.
“He himself just feels better for having put in the work – most of which came off his own back during the lockdown period.
“He was really fit when he came back to start the pre-season with us.”
Erwin’s fine form at Motherwell late in season 2014/15, with five goals in nine games, caught the eye of Leeds United, who captured him on a Bosman-style deal with compensation paid for the then 21-year-old.
But he never caught fire in England and went on loan to Bury and Oldham before an undistinguished year back in Scotland with Kilmarnock.
Kettlewell is convinced Erwin is ready to recapture his best now that his iranian ordeal is behind him.
The County boss stressed: “He’s a player I’m excited for and who I want to see fulfil the potential everybody believes he has, by bringing that influence into games.
“We have seen him in training doing well, we now need to transmit that on to the pitch and make sure he’s getting goals and assists because that’s where he will be judged.
“By getting a full pre-season under his belt I hope we will see a slightly different player.”
Kettlewell, meanwhile, was last night hoping to tie up Celtic goalkeeper Ross Doohan on a season-long loan once Celtic complete the capture of Greek shotstopper Vasilios Barkas.
Doohan was allowed to play for County as a trialist last weekend against Celtic at Parkhead.
The 22-year-old will vie with Ross Laidlaw for a starting place, although last season’s Raith loanee Ross Munro will also be looking to catch the eye.
Kettlwell added: “It has been a bit of a waiting game for us with Ross Doohan, but fortunately Celtic were great in giving us a chance to get him into our team and get him involved.
“He was desperate for a game, so he has now met the group of the players and played 90 minutes of football.
“Ross Munro is also part of our goalkeeping squad here, and he gets to pitch his hat into the ring.
“He has been injured for a large chunk of pre-season with a medial ligament injury on his knee, but he started back from that last week.
“He goes in the mix with the other two senior goalkeepers and gets the same chance to show he can be first choice.
“We look to see how we can get the best out of all of these guys.”