TAM COURTS insists he is delighted for Kerr Smith after his transfer to Aston Villa was confirmed. 

The 17-year-old has moved to Villa Park for a fee believed to be worth around £2million for the Tannadice outfit. 

Smith joined the club’s academy from Brechin aged just 7. He penned his first professional deal with the Arabs in December 2020 after impressing the first team coaching staff.  

He made his debut in 2021 at Ibrox as a sub for Ian Harkes, before going on to start games towards the end of last season.  

Smith became the Dundee derby’s youngest ever player at 16-years, nine months and seven days old.  

And a series of top class performances in the first team, including in a 1-1 draw at Celtic Park has earned him a life-changing move to Villa. 

Manager Courts is extremely pleased to see Kerr and the club get the rewards for trusting in their academy graduates.  

He said: “It is really exciting on a number of different fronts. He has come all the way through the academy system and was a very early debutant.   

“He also played in some really big and significant games for the club in a short space of time.  He is a boy with all the potential in the world.   

“It is great that Dundee United have been able to do business with an English Premier League club and it is a huge opportunity for Kerr.   

“We are just really proud of the player and everything the club has done for him and what he has achieved in such a short space of time.” 

“The staff at the academy and the coaches who have looked after Kerr at all the various age groups deserve enormous credit.  A lot of the academy coaches work at that level because they are quite selfless.   

“They might not want the plaudits but they need to take an enormous pat on the back for the work they have done in helping Kerr where he is today. 

“Kerr has been on a really steep journey, especially over the last couple of days.  He has really blossomed but there is still a lot of growth and development to come.   

“We really do think he can be a top player in the future at the highest level and that can be in the English Premier League.” 

Regarding incomings, while Tony Watt has signed a pre-contract agreement with United, it remains to be seen whether he will make the switch in this window.  

But Courts insists the situation remains open, as he revealed some details about former Fulham and Scotland ace Kevin McDonald training with the club.  

He said: “There are regular discussions happening in the background. There are multiple scenarios and I feel comfortable that the coaching staff are being supported by the sporting director and the recruitment team. There’s a lot of regular dialogue that’s happening and hopefully in a couple of days we will start to see a bit of a breakthrough.  

“I do feel we are making good traction and hopefully there is something to report, not necessarily on that player but a couple of others moving forward.  

“I think the key thing is he complements what’s in the building and enhances what we want to do in terms of our style of play and there’s a personality and a presence that complements what’s already in the building. We are excited to have him in the summer.” 

On McDonald, he added: “He’s from the area and we are looking at a couple of different options and Kevin was presented as an option to come in and train. 

“To get the opportunity to add a guy of his pedigree in the English Premier League with Fulham and also as a Scottish internationalist it would be remiss for us to not have a look.  

“He’s really added to the training group in terms of his personality and leadership and his quality is not in doubt.”