Doncaster Rovers: McCann has long been an admirer of first signing Crawford

Grant McCann revealed he had been tracking Ali Crawford for several years before making him his first signing at Doncaster Rovers.

Wednesday, 11th July 2018, 12:03 pm
Updated Monday, 16th July 2018, 4:07 pm
Ali Crawford

Scottish midfielder Crawford joined Rovers on a two-year deal on Tuesday after leaving Hamilton Academical at the end of last season.

And McCann says the 26-year-old comes with rave reviews from those in-the-know north of the border.

Ali Crawford

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"Ali is a lad I've known for probably the last two or three years," he said.

"Maybe not so much last year because he was forced back a couple of times, rushed back at Hamilton with a medial ligament injury and he broke down a couple of times.

"But the year before that, and even the year before that, he was probably one of the best midfielders in Scotland.

"Speaking to some people who know the game more than me up there - Barry Ferguson, Peter Grant and Michael O'Neill, the Northern Ireland manager - they all say the same things.

"He brings legs, he brings energy, he brings goals, he brings tenacity for a slight lad.

"And he will just add to us in that area.

"I've known about him for a long time. He's a Hamilton boy, he's been there for 11 years.

"It was difficult to try to get him out of there but I'm pleased he's decided to come down.

"I met him and his girlfriend on Tuesday morning and he can't wait to get started."

McCann has challenged Crawford to compete with the other attack-minded midfielders in the squad for a place in his side.

And the Rovers boss is pleased with the competition for places in that area.

"Ali will play in an attacking role," McCann said.

"He'll be challenging players like Matty Blair, Tommy Rowe, James Coppinger, Issam Ben Khemis, in those sorts of areas.

"We've got good competition for places.

"It's why the friendlies are important, for players to rubberstamp their place in the team."

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Doncaster Rovers sign Ali Crawford