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New Faces Could Give Scotland A Fresh Start

Date: 21st May 2018

Scotland’s much criticised friendlies games against Peru and Mexico will be played in the next few weeks.

Manager Alex McLeish has selected a squad full of uncapped talent and these players should grasp the opportunity with both hands as we prepare for the UEFA Nations League, which starts in September.

In total, we have ten players who could make their international debuts during the visit to the Americas. Only two members of the pool have played in more than ten international games so far in their careers.

I’m delighted that Alex has selected so many players that ply their trade in the Scottish leagues, with fifteen of the crop playing up here.

It’ll be interesting to see how the likes of Dylan McGeouch, Chris Cadden and Stephen O’Donnell get on. They’ve all enjoyed great seasons for their clubs in the Scottish Premiership and should add versatility and depth to areas we probably need it, especially at right-back in the case of O’Donnell.

We’ll definitely get to see a new goalkeeper between the sticks with the trio of Jordan Archer, Scott Bain and Jon McLaughlin never having pulled on the number one jersey for their country before.

I’ll be extremely interested in seeing what young forward Lewis Morgan can do, if he gets the chance. The Celtic man enjoyed a fine year with St Mirren, helping them to the Scottish Championship title.

Four times capped Johnny Russell has enjoyed a good start to his MLS career with Sporting Kansas City, he’s scored five goals in his first eleven games for SKC. Boss McLeish won’t see the attacker close up that often in a season, so Johnny will need to do his best on occasions like this. Scotland need’s more players that can stick the ball in the net, so if Russell can take his club form into the international scene then that’ll be a huge bonus.

Here’s hoping fellow striker Oli McBurnie can grab his first international goal on this trip. He was impressive against Costa Rica and an early goal in his Scottish career will do him the power of good.

Aberdeen defender Scott McKenna looked good in the two friendlies earlier in the year and if he can build on those performances then he could cement his place in team for the bigger games. It’s also an ideal opportunity to see more from Manchester United man Scott McTominay, who has been used sparingly by Jose Mourinho recently.

It will be a huge trip for Hibs stalwart Lewis Stevenson. The thirty-year old probably felt his time with Scotland was never going to come. He might not get many more chances, especially at left-back so he needs to make the most of this opportunity.

All in all, it’s a very inexperienced pool of players but I don’t see that as a particular bad thing. We need to use friendly games to experiment and see who is ready for international football and who isn’t.

Hopefully we can see quite a few new faces embrace the pressure of wearing the Scotland jersey and showing us that we have reason to be optimistic about our chances of finally qualifying for a major tournament again!

By Scott Johnston (TheFootyblog.net)

 

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