Scotland: Steve Clarke faces dilemmas before naming squad for Turkey friendly

John Carver and Steve Clark
Scotland assistant John Carver and head coach Steve Clarke were involved in Hibernian v St Johnstone recently.

Scotland head coach Steve Clarke has begun his preparations for the new campaign with some fresh twists to familiar problems.

The Scots travel to Diyarbakir to take on Turkey on November 16 before entering a tough Euro 2024 qualifying group featuring Spain, Norway, Cyprus and Georgia.

As Clarke prepares to name his squad on Wednesday, we take a look at the burning questions facing the 59-year-old.

Tried and tested or club form?

The usual list of injury withdrawals has been exacerbated this time by the club’s loss of form.

With Celtic’s Callum McGregor and Rangers’ Ryan Jack still sidelined, Southampton’s Stuart Armstrong, Bologna’s Lewis Ferguson, Norwich City’s Kenny McLean and Luton Town’s Alan Campbell are the only recent midfielders included in the central squads to earn regular club starts.

John McGinn has appeared off the bench in his last three Aston Villa appearances, Scott McTominay his last eight against Manchester United, David Turnbull made his first Celtic start since September on Saturday, Billy Gilmour played a total of 13 minutes in four games. Joining Brighton.

Lewis Ferguson and John McGinn
Lewis Ferguson and John McGinn have been in form for the club of late

In contrast, Ferguson has started the last five games for Bologna – and scored twice – helping them make it four wins in a row. The 23-year-old should push for a second Scotland start.

Also Read :  Global Medical Tourism Analysis Market Value

Vancouver Whitecaps player of the year Ryan Gould is perennially clamoring to be given the first call-up, but the 26-year-old feels he’s not denying himself a switch to Major League Soccer. To represent Canada.

A believer in loyalty and continuity, Clarke is likely to stick with the usual midfield suspects in his starting team before balancing club form with experience when it comes to selection day.

Time to experiment?

International friendlies have traditionally been seen as a time for managers to experiment or waste some time, but that has all changed since the introduction of the competitive Nations League into the packed football calendar.

The match against Turkey is Clarke’s only chance to build his squad ahead of a Group A double-header against Cyprus and Spain in March.

However, with Brentford’s Aaron Hickey sidelined, Liverpool’s debut against Napoli in the Champions League could see Calvin Ramsey receive his first call-up in 19 years.

Ryan Porteous
Ryan Porteous helped Scotland draw 0-0 with Ukraine in September

However, with Nathan Patterson returning from injury to make two Everton substitute appearances and Anthony Ralston continuing to impress for Celtic, the potential gap at right-back could be closed.

Also Read :  UN, Russia begin talks on Black Sea grains deal

Captain Andy Robertson, who is back fit with Liverpool, is almost certain to return at left-back. Although Kieran Tierney now finds himself behind Oleksandr Zinchenko in the Arsenal pecking order, despite the 20-year-old’s promising start at Hellas Verona, that double presence will limit Josh Doig’s chances of making his full international debut.

Ryan Porteous made an impressive debut in September’s 0-0 draw with Ukraine, while the likes of Cremonese’s Jack Hendry, Leeds United’s Liam Cooper and Nottingham Forest’s Scott McKenna featured in the club’s central defence, which leaked goals badly at the weekend.

Grant Hanley’s return to fitness with Norwich will certainly increase the competition.

Wilting on wings

Barry McKay playing for Hearts against Motherwell
Does Barry McKay (left) get an international recall?

With Sunderland’s Ross Stewart yet to make a promising Scotland debut due to injury and Jacob Brown appearing mainly on the Stoke City bench since his return to fitness, Southampton’s Che Adams and Queens Park Rangers’ Lyndon Dykes could once again compete for the lone striker role. .

However, with those two goals falling short at club level, Laurence Shankland’s six in five games for Hearts could prompt a recall for the 27-year-old.

Also Read :  Ohio Renaissance Festival is magical. Follow our quest find out why

With Ryan Christie an unused substitute and Ryan Fraser now on the bench for high-flying Newcastle, Bournemouth’s latest two games have seen them struggle and they could hold on to who they support on the wings.

Barry McKay has lost his spark since the Hearts winger’s first call-up in September, so it’s no surprise that James Forest is back in the frame after the 31-year-old returned to form with Celtic.

Is it Kelly’s time?

Liam Kelly
At 26, Liam Kelly is still waiting to make his senior Scotland debut

Goalkeeper is another position where Scotland have enjoyed healthy competition recently, but that now risks becoming a problem area once again.

Craig Gordon has capitulated with an extraordinary recent lapse, aided by an injury-depleted Hearts defence. Motherwell’s Liam Kelly is the only recent call-up – the others are Hearts understudy Xander Clarke and Rangers duo Jon McLaughlin and Robbie McCrory – to enjoy regular game time with his club.

This could be the perfect moment to hand the in-form Kelly his first cap in preparation for when the 39-year-old Gordon finally hangs up his gloves.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.