On Wednesday 19th the most anticipated Scotland squad of the century was announced for the upcoming Euros. Was Steve Clarke going to stay loyal to the players who got him to the finals? Or was he going to include uncapped youngsters who have shown for their clubs?
Let’s take a look –
The three goalkeepers that were selected did not come as a shock, penalty hero David Marshall whose heroics against Serbia got Scotland to the finals was first name on the squad sheet. Veteran goalie Craig Gordon who recently won the Scottish Championship with hearts and Rangers number two Jon McLaughlin were also selected. Could Motherwell’s player’s player of the year Liam Kelly have pushed one of the old vets out?
Onto the defence, there are no surprises Captain Andy Robertson was selected, along with fellow Premier League defenders Kieran Tierney, Liam Cooper and newly promoted Norwich defender Grant Hanley. The big debate before the squad announcement was whether Clarke would go with youth and this transpired to be the case as he decided to pick Rangers Academy Player of the Year Nathan Patterson - meaning recently relegated Sheffield Wednesday player Liam Palmer missed out. Another surprise inclusion was K.V. Oostende defender Jack Henry, who seems to have impressed with his displays in the Belgian First Division.
Now, for the most debated position in the squad; the midfield. With injuries to Ryan Jack and Kenny McLean, this meant there was an opportunity to add more youth and uncapped players. Manchester UTD’s Scott McTominay, Aston Villa’s John McGinn and Celtics trio of McGregor, Turnbull and Christie made the squad without much fuss. Uncapped Billy Gilmour beat off Ryan Gauld who has impressed in Portugal, but sadly didn’t do enough to make the thirty man squad.
Who are the attackers who will shoot us to glory at the Euros? No surprises in James Forrest and Ryan Fraser made the squad - two players who could provide much needed width. Recent recruit Che Adams who has scored 9 goals for Southampton in the Premiership this season makes the squad along with Lyndon Dykes and high-flying Hibs striker Kevin Nisbet. The main surprise here could be that Leigh Griffiths never made the squad. Despite the hitman’s lack of appearances for Celtic it can’t be argued that he is still lethal in front of goal. If Scotland needed a goal, who would you want the ball to fall to?
Overall, Steve Clarke has surprised a few in picking two non-capped players in Patterson and Gilmour. However, this bold move could come off, as their youth and energy could be exactly what Scotland need to get through a very tough group were we will face England, Croatia and Czech Republic. Clarke did stick with most of his favourites who took Scotland to the finals which not many people can argue with but the question is: can we continue to produce magic moments on the pitch and boogie ourselves out of the group?