Scotland Under-21 striker Fraser Hornby caught national team boss Alex McLeish’s attention with a stunning hat-trick, but admits it is his Everton manager that he needs to impress first.
The 18-year-old scored all the goals as Scot Gemmill’s side breathed fresh life into their Euro 2019 qualifying campaign with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Andorra on Thursday evening.
McLeish was an interested observer at Tynecastle and although Hornby did his long-term international prospects no harm, the teenager recognises that his first task is to become a recognised member of the Toffees team.
An 82-minute run-out against Apollon Limassol in the Europa League last July under then boss Sam Allardyce remains his only outing in an Everton jersey but he remains hopeful of forcing his way into the plans of current manager Marco Silva, pictured.
Hornby, whose contract at Goodison Park runs until summer 2021, said: “Hopefully I can get a few appearances for the first team at Everton. If not then I’ll be happy to go out on loan somewhere.
“I’ve not really had a chat with anyone about my future at Everton, I’ve kept my head down and I’m taking each day as it comes and working hard.
“I’m feeling good and hopefully I can get a few chances in the first team.
“I’m working hard every day and I’m doing the best I can do. If I perform well then I’ll get the chance.”
McLeish congratulated the players in person in the changing room after the game and Hornby hopes he has left a lasting impression.
He added: “It’s good to have the first-team manager at the game and hopefully I impressed him.
“It’s an amazing feeling to score a hat-trick in any game. I’ve scored some for Everton but it’s my first hat-trick for Scotland so it made it extra special.
“It’s still a fairly new position for me so I’m still learning and hopefully I can keep getting better and better.
“They Andorra] made it really difficult for us in the first half. They were sat deep but we knew the chances would come. I wasn’t getting frustrated because with the quality in our team I knew we would get chances.”
The under-21s travel to Arnhem on Tuesday needing to beat the Netherlands, whom they trail by a point with three games left, if they are to have any chance of landing a Group 4 play-off spot.
Having already beaten the Dutch earlier in the campaign and overcome France at this summer’s Toulon Tournament, Hornby insists the young Scots fear no-one.
He added: “It’s a really tough group but with the quality in our squad I don’t see why we can’t go to Holland and beat them. We can beat anyone on our day. France, Holland – we were unlucky against England. We’ve got great quality and are capable of beating anyone.
“There is always a chance. If we keep playing the way we have been and winning games, I don’t see why we can’t qualify.”