With only one more international break between now and the Euros Steve Clarke might be looking to give some new faces the chance to push their way into his plans. There are a few obvious deficiencies in the current Scotland squad: lack of full back depth, the only creative outlet in midfield seems to be Ryan Christie and there isn’t a real goal scoring threat. The next three games, although World Cup qualifiers, is the perfect time to try out different solutions to these problems.
It is honestly quite surprising that Hickey hasn’t even been considered for the Scotland squad yet. The fullback became a mainstay in the Hearts first team at the age of 17 before making the move to Serie A side Bologna last Summer. In his short time with ‘I Veltri’ he has become somewhat of a fan favourite after impressing in his 10 appearances for the club so far. The 18-year-old was also recently named as one of the top 50 under 21 players in the world. Hickey is predominantly playing as a left back which is probably Scotlands strongest position at the moment however the youngster would add a huge amount of depth to the squad. The former Hearts and Celtic youth player can also play in the right back position which has always seemed to be a weakness in the Scotland squad. Although it would be highly unlikely that Hickey would be a starter in Steve Clarke’s Scotland squad a call up would give the youngster a lot of international experience as well as adding some depth to both fullback spots, especially right back, which Scotland has been desperate for.
David Turnbull has arguably been Celtic’s best player this season after he managed to take the starting spot from captain Scott Brown. So far this season he has proven to be the perfect creative outlet in the centre of the pitch managing to set up five and score six himself. The 21-year-old has also impressed defensively making him a fantastic box-to-box midfielder. Clarke may see Turnbull as the perfect backup option to John McGinn who seems to play a unique role in the Scotland midfield. The Aston Villa man acts as an all-action midfielder regaining possession and pushing forward whenever possible; Turnbull plays in a similar way and if McGinn were to get injured he would be the ideal rotation option as his output would probably be similar.
Ryan Gauld is in the best form of his career and it should be rewarded with a national team call up. Although he was written off after his move to Sporting Lisbon the attacking midfielder is now more than living up to his potential. Gauld currently captains Farense who were promoted to the Primeira Liga last season. Farense currently sit just above the relegation zone but the former Dundee United player is currently considered to be one of the favourites to win the leagues player of the year. Gauld has more than proven that he is ready to make a name for himself on the big stage. In his 18 games so far this season he has scored six and assisted four. A huge problem with Scotland has been linking the midfield with the attack, sometimes the only creative outlet seems to be Ryan Christie. Gauld has the ability to pierce defensive lines with a pass and the capabilities to dribble past multiple opponents. These are two skills that Steve Clarke’s Scotland squad has been missing. In his current form the 25-year-old more than deserves a place in European Championship squad.
Lewis Ferguson is a similar player to both Turnbull and McGinn as he has proven himself to be a very good box-to-box midfielder. Whilst Ferguson is no where near ready to start for the national team he does deserve the opportunity to be a part of the squad. The 21-year-old has been the star of Aberdeen ever since he moved to Pittodrie in 2018 and he has continued to prove himself this season. In what has been a difficult year for the Dons, Ferguson has managed to score eight and assisted four in 25 games. When out of possession the 21-year-old is always looking to regain the ball in the centre of the park. If Clarke adds Ferguson to the squad for the upcoming international break it would be in a similar vain to the addition of Aaron Hickey. He would be there for the experience whilst also providing more cover for the midfield.
Southampton striker Che Adams qualifies for Scotland through his maternal grandparent and he would be the perfect addition to the national team. Although Adams has rejected the opportunity to join up with the squad before he would now have the chance to play in the Euros which may be tougher for him to pass up on. Dykes has been fantastic since joining Steve Clarke’s men but he still isn’t the goal-scoring threat that Scotland are desperate for. Adams has proven previously that he has the capability to be the focal point of an extremely creative attack. The 24-year-old could also be the perfect striking partner for Lyndon Dykes who is always looking to link up play. If he were to play alone upfront Adams has the pace to latch onto through balls that a majority of the striking options for Scotland have lacked over the years.