Leeds United defender hoping to engineer silverware quadruple
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Instead, the Scotsman’s papers in refrigeration and engineering were not called for as the defender signed for Dundee United in June 2010.
Not turning professional until he was 19, Douglas had taken something of an unconventional route into the game.
Eleven years on, the defender is now chasing a very unconventional quadruple.
After winning silverware with both Lech Poznan in Poland and Konyaspor in Turkey, Douglas is now eyeing his second Championship title but this time with Leeds United, two years after also winning English football’s second tier with Wolves.
Douglas, it seems, is a lucky charm when it comes to winning trophies.
“I must be a common denominator if I have won them!” he laughs.
But on a more serious note, the 30-year-old left-back believes the Whites have exactly what it takes to repeat the Wolverhampton Wanderers success of 2018, if and when United are given the green light to resume their promotion push.
Championship front-runners Leeds have now gone over two months without kicking a ball competitively with both the Premier League and EFL campaigns still suspended owing to the country’s ongoing fight against coronavirus.
For Douglas, that has meant following United’s working-from-home individual training plan with the Glaswegian also opting to keep himself busy with a spot of yoga, meditation and plenty of jigsaws with son Kaidyn.
The Whites left-back now only hopes that he and the rest of the Leeds squad will soon be able to put the final pieces of their own Championship jigsaw into place by sealing promotion to the Premier League.
The break in play comes with Leeds top of English football’s second tier, one point ahead of second-placed West Brom and holding a seven-point buffer in the division’s automatic promotion spots with nine games left.
Promotion for Douglas would complete a quickfire double with the left-back and also Whites team-mate Helder Costa having helped Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves side to the 2017-18 Championship title, Douglas having done so on the back of success in the Turkish and Polish leagues.
Douglas arrived at Wolves in July 2017 having helped Konyaspor win the 2016–17 Turkish Cup after defeating İstanbul Başakşehir in the final on penalties.
Success in Turkey also followed two pieces of silverware in Poland with the defender part of the Lech Poznan side that won both the 2014-15 Polish league championship and the same season’s Super Cup.
Now the defender is eyeing a fifth piece of silverware in the space of five years with the defender certain Marcelo Bielsa’s Whites have the necessary traits to complete the task in hand.
Asked what the secret was to winning trophies at his last three clubs, Douglas pondered: “A bit of luck. Right time, right place, a good group of boys, good beliefs, ambition, not getting ahead of ourselves.
“I must be a common denominator if I have won them!
“But it’s just about the belief and the mind-set of the boys, that’s a big part of it and we have got that at Leeds as well so I don’t see any reason why we can’t go on and achieve success here.”
Comparing any similarities between Leeds and Wolves, Douglas smiled: “Me and Helder in the same team! But again, probably the belief and the attitude of the boys.
“It’s relentless, every game one game at a time, it’s never say die and we know what’s required of us.
“There are times that it would be easy to bow our heads and feel defeated and it never seems to happen.
“The mind-set has been instilled that it’s 90 minutes and we have won a lot of games and scored a lot of goals in the latter part of the games because of this.
"I think as long as we just keep being resilient and keep focusing on all the fundamentals that we have done to this point, then there is no reason why we can’t go and achieve our goal.”
Douglas has now amassed over 300 appearances in the professional game from first club Queen’s Park to Dundee United followed by Lech Poznan, Konyaspor, Wolves and now Leeds.
Yet the Glaswegian’s career looked like taking a very different path before his final year as a teen.
Speaking as part of Leeds United’s latest ‘Ask’ series in association with Deliveroo, Douglas was asked what he would have been doing if he was not a professional footballer. If the Whites ever have any problems with their fridges then they are in safe hands.
“I do have my refrigeration and engineering papers so I possibly could have stuck into that,” said Douglas.
“It was a good trade, hard, but there was good money to be made.
“I knew a guy through football who was the boss of a company that specialised in that and I got in touch with him.
“I was playing football part-time at the time and never really saw it going into any career at that point, so my grandpa was always saying to me to make sure I had a trade that I could fall back onto if football doesn’t work out and that’s how that started.
“I did that for three years, so I was kind of lucky in a sense that I went professional football when I was 18 or 19, which in football terms is quite late.
“I had good guidance from my grandpa to make sure I had something to fall back on if it never worked out.”
But it did and now, 10 years on, Douglas hopes he will soon have to make more room for another winner’s medal in his second season with the Whites.
Douglas joined Leeds for just £3m in July 2018 having made 38 league starts for 2017-18 Championship winners Wolves where the left-back finished joint top of the division’s assists charts alongside Aston Villa’s Robert Snodgrass with 14 assists each.
For Douglas, the 2017-18 campaign also included a debut for the Scotland national side.
Explaining how his switch to Elland Road materialised, Douglas admitted: “It was very fast to be honest. I had started pre-season back with Wolves.
"There was a lot happening; it was on the back of winning the Championship so it was a crazy summer with the birth of Kaidyn, so it was all go.
“It was in pre-season and, to be honest, Nuno came and spoke to me and said ‘this is the plan for the club moving forward, we’ve had an offer from Leeds and we’re going to accept it, but ultimately it’s up to you but this is where we are at.’.
“I had to quickly make a decision and signed for Leeds and never really looked back. It was a really big project, an ambitious project, and another chance to go on and, hopefully, achieve success.
“If it wasn’t for the pandemic, who knows what we would be doing right now but, hopefully we can resume and take up where we left off.”