It’s fair to say Scott Fraser hasn’t looked back since leaving Dundee United.
The 25-year-old signed for Burton Albion in 2018 and was arguably the best midfielders in League One last term.
And with the Scot announcing his departure recently, clubs are on high-alert to secure his signature for the upcoming campaign.
Fraser has gone from strength to strength with the Brewers. In his debut campaign, he played a whopping 50 games, scoring seven goals and producing five assists.
But this season, he has stepped it up a notch.
Fraser helped his side go on a fantastic run of form between November and January with Burton picking up 8 wins from 14 in all competitions as he was deployed in a creative role by Nigel Clough.
The playmaker ended the season with some remarkable statistics, which saw him have the joint third-highest number of assists across the whole of England for the 2019/20 season, only three off of the incredible Kevin De Bruyne.
And he even came face-to-face with the Belgian star as Burton as they went on an incredible run all the way to the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup to play Manchester City. Although, his side were on the heaviest League Cup defeat since 1986, Fraser was delighted to be testing himself against the best in the world.
The cup run was madness, beating Villa, then Nottingham Forest live on Sky Sports- scoring two goals and getting man of the match.
We then went away to Middlesbrough and beat them 1-0 and I couldn’t wait to play Manchester City after the draw was made.
“It was a surreal feeling playing against players I grew up watching such as David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan, directly against me in centre midfield. We played well in the first leg, but the away end hurt and the score line was horrible.”
Fraser has come a long way since starting his career with his local sides Dee Club and Longforgan BC, before making a successful move United at the age of 10, and coming through the same academy as John Souttar and Ryan Gauld.
And he still has fond memories of his time as a kid at Tannadice.
“I came through a very good academy from the U15’s and we had some very good players. Ian Cathro was my coach and he was brilliant. He was perfect for me as he loves the technique side of the game and he honestly had us playing some ridiculous football despite just being teenagers.
“Peter Houston also was also a great manager and while he was in charge, I used to get taken out of school a couple of times a week to train with the first-team.”
Fraser made his first-team debut as a 17-year-old on one of the biggest stages of all at Parkhead, playing against the team he grew up supporting, Celtic.
“It was an unbelievable feeling. My dad and grandad are huge Celtic fans and my mum is a Dundee United supporter, so it was a great day all round even though we lost 3-1. My first league start came against Motherwell and on that occasion, we managed to secure a win, therefore it was even better.
“It was probably my favourite game for United. I surprisingly wasn’t even nervous, but the reason behind that is because I’ve got a lot of confidence in my ability and I felt I could’ve broken into the side even earlier than I did.”
Fraser then went on-loan to League One side Airdrieonians for the 2014/15 season and made 25 appearances for the Diamonds, scoring five goals.
“Going to Airdrie on-loan was the best thing I could’ve done and I’m so glad I did. I was playing with the U20’s at Dundee United and I absolutely hated it because I knew I was good enough to be playing senior football. Gary Bollan and the other coaches were brilliant and really helped me progress even more.”
Fraser’s breakthrough season came the following season at United, but it’s fair to say it’s a season that won’t live long in the memories of any Arab fans as they were relegated by their bitter rivals Dundee, just across the road from Tannadice.
He admitted it was a “low point” but is glad to see them back in the top-flight. He spent two seasons in the Championship with the Arabs, making 69 appearances across the board, scoring 12 goals, and providing 16 assists.
Fraser is honest when it comes to his exit from Tannadice, saying:
“I felt that I would benefit from playing down south and in a team that played good football, and luckily it all went well and I was proven right.”
Clough has played a huge part in his development at Burton and Fraser was quick to thank his former boss, who departed the club after five years in May.
“Nigel Clough was great for me, he’s brilliant! He’s hard but fair I’d say. He knows how he wants his teams to play and along with his coaches he gets us playing that way and that gives players like myself room to play and be creative.
“The way we played at Burton suited me perfectly, I wanted to play central and the manager is massive on passing the ball and playing out from the back. We’re a very good footballing side and you wouldn’t see many better below the championship and I loved playing under him and he deserves a good job where he goes next”
So what’s next for Fraser?
The midfielder has been linked with a handful of English sides such as Hull City, Barnsley and Peterborough United over the last couple of weeks.
There will also no doubt be interest from Scotland and talk of him returning to United, but Fraser insists it’s not something that appeals to him, unless Celtic or Rangers come calling.
“I’ve never had any thoughts at all about returning to Scotland or Dundee United. I am very happy playing down in England and unless you got an offer from one of the Old Firm, I think most players would rather stay in England unless they had no choice.
“I really enjoyed the two seasons I’ve had with Burton and definitely made the right choice in choosing them over other clubs. There was interest in January from other clubs, but I said at the time I would only leave if it was something I felt was right.
“I was enjoying my football and playing well so I was in no rush. I always said and was honest with the gaffer about wanting to play at the highest level I could but wouldn’t just jump at the first chance I got if it didn’t feel right for me, so we’ll wait and see what happens now as I’ve had interest from other Championship sides.
“I’m going to play where I think it’s best for me to continue to get better as a player.”
Fraser has a lot of belief in his own ability and still harbours ambitions of playing for Scotland one day.
“I’m like every player, I’d love to play for my country and it’s something I definitely want. I’ve had a very good season this year with 9 goals and 14 assists from centre midfield so hopefully caught the eye.
“The midfield Is the National teams’ strongest area; therefore, I would definitely have to produce similar statistics to have a real shout, but It’s something I know I am capable of doing.”