Apart from a relatively successful spell in the 1980s Dundee United have never been an extremely notable club in football. They have produced some good players over the years but never any household names. Their most recent export to England, David Goodwillie has hardly set the English game alight since his move to Blackburn Rovers. 

Now though with a fresh batch of players all attracting attention could we see an influx of players from the former European Cup semi-finalists?

3. Stuart Armstrong

Having just picked up the Young Player of the Month award for February it is clear Stuart Armstrong is in a rich vein of form. He can consider himself unlucky to have missed out on a place in Gordon Strachan’s Scotland squad but it is surely only a matter of time before the young central midfielder wins his first cap.

Often overshadowed by the other stars at Tannadice, Armstrong has all the attributes to become a very talented central midfielder with a good first touch and awareness. He also has an eye for goal having netted in the recent 6-2 defeat at Parkhead against champions Celtic.

2. Johnny Russell

Seen by many as the potential replacement for David Goodwillie, Russell has firmly cemented his status as a real fans’ favourite since breaking into the first-team set-up from the academy.

An all-round top striker who is equally comfortable linking up the play or running at defenders Russell has really made a name for himself this season. He is another to have flourished since new man Jackie McNamara took over and he has already notched 20 goals in all competitions so far this season.

Unfortunately he suffered a broken fibula recently which was thought to put an end to his season altogether. Luckily for Russell and United, he is recovering well and hopes to be back for his side’s Scottish Cup semi-final clash with Celtic.

Both Sheffield United and Burnley were said to be interested in Russell over January and it is likely more clubs will come in for him in the summer.

1. Gary Mackay-Steven

Lauded by many as Scotland’s answer to Lionel Messi. Whilst this may be a tad over the top, nobody can deny that Gary Mackay-Steven is technically gifted.

The former Liverpool and Fulham trainee is finally fulfilling the potential he showed in his formative years and in doing so is tearing SPL defences apart. His dribbling skill has been well documented and his vast array of flicks and tricks has earned him comparisons with some of the world’s premier show boaters.

Mackay-Steven, or 'GMS' as he is affectionately known, has formed a deadly partnership with Russell and the two of them have been in fine form this season. Russell has cited his admiration for the winger on more than one occasion describing the player as "incredible" and "a pleasure to watch".

It came as no surprise to see Mackay-Steven earn his first international call-up when Gordon Strachan’s Scotland squad was announced and it would be a huge shock if Dundee United's star man was not involved against either Wales or Serbia.

It doesn’t stop there for though, as United's academy is already preparing the next set of stars to step up when the current crop move on. Currently playing within the academy are three more talented stars all hoping they can re-create the success of the aforementioned players.

John Souttar is a quick and talented centre-half who will be looking to follow in the footsteps of Irish defensive duo Gavin Gunning and Paddy Barrett over the next few seasons.

Darren Petrie will be looking to emuate Armstrong in his bid to break into the first-team squad, and should Mackay-Steven depart, he may already have found a replacement in 16-year-old Ryan Gauld.

Already earmarked as one for the future Gauld has shown encouraging signs in his Dundee United career and those at Tannadice Park believe they have an extremely special player on their hands.

However these players develop, it is encouraging to see The Tangerines producing some impressive players, the only question that remains is how long before we see them in England?


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Gary MacKay-Steven