Five uncapped players that Steve Clarke could turn to for Scotland’s World Cup qualifiers with Israel and Faroe Islands
Steve Clarke isn’t normally one for experimenting with his Scotland squad selection, showing loyalty to the players who have served him well in the past.
After his side’s heroics in Austria during the last round of international fixtures it seems unlikely that the former Kilmarnock gaffer will make wholesale changes to his squad for the upcoming games with Israel and Faroe Islands.
However, there are a handful of uncapped players who have had fantastic starts to the 2021/22 season that the 58-year old could consider adding to his camp this time around.
Here are five uncapped players who we could see selected in the squad this afternoon:
The former Ross County hitman has gotten his season off to a flying start in England’s League 1, scoring five goals in eight league matches for Sunderland.
Clarke doesn’t have a wealth of options up front but does have Lawrence Shankland and Kevin Nisbet as the players he tends to opt for along with Lyndon Dykes and Che Adams.
However, none of Adams, Shankland or Nisbet offer the same combativeness as Dykes does and that feature of the QPR strikers game is something the Scots have relied on heavily in the past.
Stewart brings a similar style and could work as a like for like option to fill in for Dykes who would miss the Faroe Islands fixture should he pick up a booking against Israel.
Aberdeen’s problems have been well documented this season after a winless run now stretching to eight matches.
However, Calvin Ramsay’s performances at right wing-back have earned rave reviews from pundits and supporters alike with the 18-year old head and shoulders above the rest of his teammates in most matches.
He’s been the main attacking outlet for the Dons down the right flank, demonstrating terrific positioning and skills and has provided plenty of assists including two against St Mirren last Sunday.
Right back has been a problem area for the Scots under Clarke’s tenure, whether he’d like to admit it or not, with Stephen O’Donnell the only real option who has been regularly available.
Nathan Paterson is touted to be the man to secure that position in the national team long term but is going to face competition from Ramsay who, despite his age, already looks capable of making the step up.
Rooney’s record over the past 12 months speaks for itself, after playing a key part in St Johnstone’s historic cup double success last season, and the most surprising thing to most Scotland supporters is that the former Inverness CT defender hasn’t been called up yet.
He’s impressed time and again for the Perth Saints and seems like an obvious choice to go in and provide an option for the previously mentioned lack of depth at right back.
It’s hard to believe there hasn’t been more recognition coming out of the Scotland squad selectors for the Saints players who were so impressive last season.
Former Saints captain Jason Kerr might have been another uncapped name in considerations but he’s found minutes hard to come by since his deadline day move to Wigan Athletic.
That’s not the case for Rooney though who has remained ever present in the Saints defence that has kept three clean sheets in their last five matches.
Wright’s position is something which probably works against him when Steve Clarke is casting his eye over the selection pool.
With Clarke’s preferred five at the back formation from which the full backs provide attacking width, it means that there’s no place for traditional wingers like Wright.
However, it’s always good to have options in the squad even if the manager is highly unlikely to deviate from his tried and tested formula.
Ryan Fraser and James Forrest are the usual wide men you’d expect Clarke to call upon but Wright is knocking on the door after establishing himself as more of a regular in the Rangers first team this season with ten appearances in all competitions and two goals.
18 months ago the biggest problem that Scotland had was a noticeable lack of depth at right back.
Now, the pool of options available to Clarke for that position has grown exponentially with Nathan Paterson featuring more regularly for Rangers, Calvin Ramsay’s emergence at Aberdeen and Anthony Ralston establishing himself as a Celtic’s starting right back under Ange Postecoglou.
Ralston has made 14 appearances in all competitions and scored three goals for the Parkhead side this season to take his chance, something which seemed highly unlikely after less than eye catching loan spells at St Johnstone and Dundee United.
However, the previously mentioned Rooney and Ramsay are both more familiar with the right wing back role that would be required of them with Scotland given that they have similar jobs at club level.
Ralston, on the other hand, is used in a back four at Celtic but that certainly doesn’t mean he could transition into that role with comfort if need be.
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