Scotland youngsters emerging onto scene for Strachan
FootyOn writers look at Scotland youngsters looking to drive the national team into a new era of success, with Kieran Tierney and Oliver Burke headlining.
After a record shattering low crowd watched Scotland draw against Canada at Easter Road, Gordon Strachan’s men pulled off a crucial victory over Slovenia at Hampden Park in their quest to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
It’s been bleak for the Tartan Army over the last few years. From Craig Levein’s infamous 4-6-0 formation to 40-goal Lee Griffiths not being selected due to his short limbs, it seems Scotland’s wait for major tournament continues.
However, scan recent squads and call-ups and you’ll see a plethora of Scotland youngsters waiting to burst on the scene.
Could this emerging Scotland Golden Generation usher in a new era of success after years of disappointment?
When Tierney sees a 50/50 on the field you can practically see him lick lips in excitement. In fact, Celtic captain Scott Brown said the 19-year-old would “tackle his granny” if it meant getting the ball.
Aggressive on the defensive end of the pitch, what separates Tierney from the pack is his truly two-way ability.
The Celtic left back is far from the standard solid tackling flank player we’ve seen over the years.
Tierney bursts forward at every opportunity, whipping in quality balls and testing goalies with driven efforts.
The conundrum is fitting both the extremely gifted Andrew Robertson, tipped for a summer move from Hull City, and Tierney in the same XI.
A switch we could is Celtic’s teenager moving further up the field in a Gareth Bale-esque progression forward, for both club and country.
Tierney was deployed as a right back in a World Cup qualifier against Slovenia and shone, who’s to say he can’t star in yet another position.
Offensive options bolster qualification odds
Burke headlines the attacking Scotland youngsters exciting Scotland’s faithful.
The former Nottingham Forest star is a real athletic specimen capable of breaking through defensive lines using his formidable pace and power.
After becoming the most expensive Scot ever with a transfer to Bundesliga club RB Leipzig for around £13m, he has featured mainly as a sub for Germany’s second best side.
However, there is no better place to continue his rapid development.
Couple this with Bournemouth’s Ryan Fraser, who has experienced a breakthrough Premier League campaign, and the nation has an abundance of creative midfielders.
Hibernian’s tricky midfielder John McGinn is another blessed with the sort of cultured technique rarely produced by Scotland over recent years.
He may not be playing at the very highest level yet, but consistent displays warrant a move later this summer – with Sunderland reportedly interested.
Barrie McKay, recently linked with a switch to join up with Burke at Leipzig, adds to attacking options. In a similar mould to McGinn, McKay has a diminutive frame, using trickery and pace to bamboozle defenders.
McKay possesses tremendous growth potential and an eye for a killer ball to split defences, a reason why Rangers rejected a rumoured £6m bid from Germany in January.
Marksman missing from developing youngsters
Scotland may well be on their way to cultivating a talented young generation. But can it really be complete without a lethal forward?
We’ve seen it over and over again from players in a Scotland shirt, an inability to punish opponents with competent finishing.
Until the nation produces a forward capable of stepping up on the biggest stage and becoming the go to man, they may still struggle against international quality.
Perhaps Burke will move into a more central role as he has done on occasion for club, or a star will soon emerge from an academy?
Scotland just does not have the almost unlimited riches of those south of the border to splurge on players.
However, this means clubs have had to focus on nurturing local prospects and will likely soon reap rewards with superb Scotland youngsters ready to shine.
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