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Five Players That Steve Clarke Should Look At Before Euro 2020

Date: 12th January 2021

We still don’t know what Covid-19 and the world pandemic that it has brought with it has in store for us in 2021. 

Some in the footballing world might (understandably) feel that international friendlies are too risky as R-Numbers increase. Yet I’m sure international managers like Scotland’s Steve Clarke would like to have the opportunity to look at a few new faces as he tries to assemble the best possible Scotland squad for this summer’s Euro 2020 tournament. 

Now that being said, even the possibility of having such a competition will probably be under consideration as we continue to fight this current health crisis. 

But even with all that in mind, I thought it would be nice to be positive and optimistic and I thought I’d write about five players that I believe should get a chance to impress Clarke before Euro 2020 starts!

Aaron Hickey – Bologna

It’s not every day that a Scottish player turns up in Serie A, although we’ve now had two in the last two seasons following on from Liam Henderson’s stint at Hellas Verona last year.

Hickey arrived in Bologna last summer and the teen has done well in getting regular game time with the Italian top flight club. He has played in ten out of Bologna’s 19 Serie A outings thus far this season. He has averaged over 30 passes per appearance and has a very healthy passing success rate of over 88% too.

A very eager full-back and one that isn’t scared to attack down the flanks.    

Now Aaron has predominantly been used as a left-back at Bologna and before that at Hearts but he’s a two-footed player and while Scotland have an abundance of good left-backs, we aren’t as well off on the right side of defence. Maybe we could solve that problem by having Hickey in that role. 

Maybe not one that will be able to force his way into the Euro 2020 squad but any new faces in those pre-tournament friendlies should also be seen as players for our next World Cup qualifying campaign. 

Kevin Nisbet – Hibs 

A position we aren’t overly strong in is up-front. We have won watch with the emergence of Lyndon Dykes but after the QPR man we still have a place or two up for grabs. 

I think Hibs frontman Kevin Nisbet is definitely one that is chapping on Steve Clake’s door. He’s a player that can hold the ball up, work well with those around him and importantly knows were the back of the net is. 

Kevin has taken to top flight football like a duck to water this term, no player has so far bettered Nisbet’s eleven goal tally in the Scottish Premiership. He manages around 3 shots per game (Via Whoscored) and has a record better than 1 goal in every 2 games.  

A smart finisher, who makes intelligent runs, Nisbet has impressed his Hibees boss Jack Ross who said last night: 

“He’s made a valuable contribution for us, he’s continuing to do that, and if he can get towards 20 goals this season that’s a fantastic achievement for the young man.”

Kevin Nisbet is a striker that makes sure he works the opposition backline. 

Lewis Ferguson – Aberdeen

The Dons midfielder has continually gone from strength to strength at Pittodrie. 

At only twenty-one years of age, Ferguson has already amassed more than 100 top team starts with Aberdeen. In those games, Lewis has bagged himself twenty goals and over twenty assists. He’s the top scoring midfielder in the Premiership so far in this campaign and he has a keen eye for an important strike too. 

He’s composed and a leader on the field, much like his uncle Barry was in his early days. The central midfielder is also fairly good on the air, which is a bonus for both boxes. 

Dons boss Derek McInnes has recently stated just how important Lewis has been since his arrival in 2018:

“Lewis is a young man who does everything right and is such a key performer for me.”

Breaking into that central midfield position might not be easy for anyone but it might be interesting to see if Lewis Ferguson’s grit and determination can add something to that packed area of our squad. 

Billy Gilmour – Chelsea 

Billy has been talked about by every Scotland fan since he was a young teenager.

Now he’s still only nineteen but Gilmour has shown that he can cope with the pressures of playing in the English Premier League. 

The Chelsea youngster has bounced back from injury and is now pushing to become a first team starter regularly for Frank Lampard’s side as the Chelsea boss has suggested:

“I think Billy Gilmour is pushing too and I think Billy has been pushing since he made his breakthrough last season against top-level opposition Liverpool.”

The midfielder was sensational in his debut performances against Liverpool and Everton last season. He has the ability to dictate things with his accurate passing. His attitude during training or games has also been exemplary. 

Billy’s never looked out of place with the Scotland under-21s and it could be an ideal time to integrate him into the senior side and get him used to those surroundings. Another one who would definitely learn a lot from being in and around the senior set-up before our World Cup qualifiers. 

Ryan Gauld – Farense 

Us Scots love a flair player, a player that can create something out of very little like a James McFadden. We no longer have a huge amount of those kind of stars to call upon. That was very evident when we were missing both Ryan Fraser and James Forrest in recent Scotland games. 

That could lead to an opportunity for Ryan Gauld. Once tipped as being the next big thing from Scotland, his move to Sporting Lisbon from Dundee United didn’t quite pan out as planned. But he has stuck with it in Portugal and he’s now impressing at Farense in the Liga NOS. 

Ryan has been has club’s talisman during their first season back in Portugal’s top flight. He’s been an ever present in their league campaign and leads the way in terms of goals and assists (4 of each).

A very effective player on either wing, can play in that number ten role and has also impressed as a false nine for his club. Ryan has made over 2 key passes per game and just under 2 crosses too. Very good at finding that dangerous pass into attacking teammates and has the dribbling ability to attack opponents and excite fans!

Scotland could definitely do with finding a new creative and versatile maestro before Euro 2020. Ryan Gauld might just be that man.  

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