Kenny McLean is made of the right stuff
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Kenny McLean will leave Aberdeen with a glowing character reference when he links up with Norwich City.
The all-action midfielder earned his third Scottish cap in the midweek 1-0 friendly win over Hungary, as he looks to establish himself in Alex McLeish's plans.
The 26-year-old revealed during the international break Norwich's charm offensive was a big factor in convincing him to join Daniel Farke's crusade.
But first McLean wants to sign off with a Scottish Cup winners' medal at Pittodrie, although the former St Mirren ace is suspended for the semi-final against Motherwell next month.
Dons' chief Derek McInnes never had any doubts he could rely on McLean when he returned to Aberdeen on loan in January.
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'If anybody even had a hint of even suggesting Kenny was going to down tools because his future was settled, they don't know him,' said McInnes.
'Kenny has been a driving force for us.
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'He has been key for us over a period of time and will continue to be that over the remaining games of the season.
'It was very important for us to keep Kenny for the rest of the season.
'That was always our intention. We got the added bonus that we managed to bring some money back in but it was even more important we secured Kenny for the rest of the campaign.'
McInnes, speaking to the Evening Express, admits he faces a major task to find a replacement for McLean in the summer transfer window.
'That is the challenge,' he said. 'That is the nature of the game.
'It is naive to think we can hold on to all our best players all the time.
'When players become internationals they are difficult to replace like for like.
'You have got to try to adjust and make signings that you think can help bridge the gap and in time they become the players that have left.
'Kenny plays every week and he has racked up so many consecutive games, so we will miss his influence.
'From the boy who signed from St Mirren to the boy who will be leaving us at the end of the season there has been a huge improvement in Kenny.
'In his overall game, his maturity and his leadership qualities.'