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Aziz Behich in line for Dundee United debut after getting work permit

Dundee Utd manager Jack Ross has Aziz Behich available at last (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Dundee Utd manager Jack Ross has Aziz Behich available at last (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Aziz Behich has been given the green light to join the Dundee United squad for their Europa Conference League qualifier against AZ Alkmaar on Thursday night.

The 31-year-old left-sided player had to wait on a work permit after joining the Tannadice club from Turkish side Giresunspor last month.

The approval has come in time for the second leg of the third-qualifying round at the AFAS Stadion where United take a 1-0 lead from last week.

A delighted United boss Jack Ross told the club’s official website: “We got confirmation of his work permit approval yesterday lunchtime which meant he can travel and be involved in the squad tomorrow evening.

“It is a big boost for us. It has been hugely frustrating for him.

“He has been desperate to play for the last two or three games so it is nice to have him available.

“So yes, looking forward to seeing him on the pitch at last.”

Ross believes Behich, capped 52 times for his country, has all the right attributes to be a success at Tannadice.

The former Hibernian and Sunderland boss said: “First of all, (he brings) competition in that area of the pitch.

“Secondly, huge international pedigree, European league experience, he’s an all-round good player.

“Nothing much will faze him, there is a steeliness about his play and an energy and I think United fans will enjoy watching him, how committed he is to want to be a success.

“Part of the attraction of coming is he wanted a new challenge and from getting to know him the last few weeks he is someone who is all in with that.

“He is aggressive in all aspects of his play, how he defends, how he wants to get forward.

“He is quick and that energy and deliveries from the left-hand side of the pitch will be important, maybe in different roles at different times in different games.

“Certainly, overall he strengthens the squad.

“He is just desperate to play. The fact that he has had a taste of games by watching them and the atmosphere around games in Scotland and the atmosphere in the European game has just whetted the appetite even more.

“He was a happy man yesterday and he is excited with what lies ahead as well.”

Ross believes his players will have to hit the heights of last week’s thrilling performance again if they are to get past the Eredivisie outfit and into the Europa League Conference play-off round.

He told BBC Scotland: “AZ’s home record in Europe is very, very good over the past six or seven years.

“I’m excited about it, though. I think the players rose to the challenge last week and they’ll need to do so again on Thursday.

“I think (the performance) needs to be at least on par (with last week’s).”