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Scotland Need To Try And Get The Best Out Of Ryan Fraser

Date: 8th October 2018

Sometimes you get those players that seem fantastic for their clubs, yet don’t look the same player for their national team. 

Some of the Tartan Army used to say that about Darren Fletcher but in fairness to the midfielder the Scotland team didn’t have the same qualities that the Manchester United team had at that time. 

England have a few players like that in their current set-up. Raheem Sterling and Dele Alli look like world beaters for their club teams but when they play for England they can often look stifled and ordinary. 

I really hope we don’t start saying the same about current Scotland attacker Ryan Fraser

The winger is currently flying in the English Premier League with AFC Bournemouth; he’s quick,  direct, likes to pick out a cross and create chances for others or himself. 

Fraser has been an ever present for The Cherries in the league so far this term. In those eight starts, the Scotsman has scored three goals and created three assists. He’s also scored in his only appearance in the League Cup during this campaign. 

His club boss Eddie Howe has been keen to sing his player’s praises recently:

“Mentally, he has looked very strong and that has been a key thing with his recent form.”

“Last season he did well for us but didn’t quite get the goals and the headlines he is getting now.”

“Goals will naturally bring headlines and I’m pleased he’s getting them because he is defining matches for us.”

Ryan is a player that likes to get involved and get into the final third. He sees a lot of the ball, plays plenty of short passes, likes a dribble and heading for the goal-line. He has made around 2.6 key passes per game, averages 1.6 shots per league game and has a passing success rate of 79%

Now one major issue is that the twenty-four year old is currently shining while playing on the left wing. That position isn’t really up for grabs as Scotland boss Alex McLeish is playing with a 3-5-2 formation and current captain Andrew Robertson is playing on the lefthand side.

Now Fraser could play on the right and McLeish has tried him in that role before but he’s not ideally suited to it. With Scotland the wide players are tasked to be more like wing-backs and that means doing a fair bit of defence work, which isn’t really Ryan’s forte 

Kilmarnock’s Stephen O’Donnell did really well in that position in Scotland’s win against Albania in the UEFA Nations League last month. Celtic’s James Forrest is another one who could flourish on the right flank. 

So where would I play Ryan Fraser? 

Well I’d try him as one of the team’s forwards. 

You’ve got goalscorers in Steven Naismith, Leigh Griffiths and Oli McBurnie and one of them could lead the line giving the side a focal point. Then I’d have Fraser playing alongside one of those strikers and give him the freedom to go wherever he wants in the final third. 

He can play on either wing or in and around the number nine. As I’ve already said, the Bournemouth forward is at his best when he’s creating in the final third. So why not use him in the areas where he can be at his most dangerous? 

It’s obviously a huge call but I could see Ryan becoming Scotland’s answer to Eden Hazard if we just give him the attacking responsibility I believe he craves.

I just really hope that we can see an exciting talent like Ryan Fraser really shine whilst wearing a Scotland jersey! 

 

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