Steve Clarke hails young guns and explains Rangers' Nathan Patterson Scotland call-up for Euro 2020

Steve Clarke believes the surprise inclusion of a trio of uncapped players in his 26-man squad for Euro 2020 has already given Scotland supporters a boost.

Steve Clarke wants Nathan Patterson to apply pressure on current Scotland right wing-back Stephen O'Donnell (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour and Rangers full-back Nathan Patterson, both 19, have been called up, along with Celtic’s 21-year-old midfielder David Turnbull.

“I am happy with the squad and if I’m happy with it I would like to think the vast majority of people will be happy with it as well,” said the Scotland manager.

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“There is a good balance between players who have got us there, players who deserve to be in the squad and that little bit of freshness the young players will bring.”

Gilmour, who has only featured 22 times in total for the Chelsea first-team, has started three league games this month. He will hope to be included in the squad for next weekend’s Champions League final against Manchester City.

Patterson, meanwhile, represents an even bigger call by the Scotland manager. The Rangers right-back has made only seven league appearances for the Ibrox side. His recent progress was interrupted by a four-game ban from the SFA for breaking Covid restrictions. He has not played since a 1-1 draw with St Johnstone last month.

Clarke stressed that Patterson was being selected on merit. Liam Palmer has dropped out after a disappointing season with Sheffield Wednesday, who have been relegated to the third tier in England. The Scotland manager wants more pressure to be applied on current first-choice right wing-back Stephen O’Donnell.

“I know he (Patterson) didn’t finish the season in the team, but when he did have that spell in the team, when (James) Tavernier was out injured, his performances could not make you do anything other than sit up and take notice,” explained Clarke.

“He reminded me a little bit of myself as a young man bombing up and down the line!

“Obviously there is still a bit of work to do on his game, but he is a big prospect for the future. It’s a position I am trying to improve and hopefully Nathan can be the one to step up and give Stephen O’Donnell a bit of competition for the right-back spot.”

Some regard Gilmour’s promotion as belated after a period where he has been knocking on the door of the full squad. Clarke said “circumstances” had prevented his earlier introduction but that the time was now right for him to make the step up, following injuries to midfielders Ryan Jack and Kenny McLean.

“Losing two midfield players gave me the opportunity to bring some other boys into the squad and I decided to go with the young ones,” Clarke explained.

“I think the recent games Billy has played are quite important. He has been back in that Chelsea team working hard and obviously I get good feedback from people at Chelsea.

“He was in the Chelsea team under Frank Lampard and doing really well, so he has always been in my thoughts Billy. Now he has got a chance to show us in camp how good he is.”

Clarke described Turnbull as a “shining light” for Celtic this season who deserved his chance on such a grand stage at international level.

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