Jacob Brown Scotland 'goosebumps' as Luton forward reflects on two-year wait for first start
But after two years, 15 squad inclusions, four campaigns and seven brief substitute appearances, the pay-off for the country’s exhilarating Euro 2024 qualifying campaign allowed the Luton Town forward to bathe in emotion. As Steve Clarke’s men made their way round Hampden following Sunday’s 3-3 draw with Norway to take the acclaim of a Tartan Army they have regally entertained in reaching the German finals, Brown was entitled to large it. His small-time role having given way to a first start that practically doubled his minutes on the pitch for Clarke’s side.
The entire experience had a profound effect on the 25-year-old, even if the going didn’t seem necessarily easy over his 70-minute outing. “It was a great feeling,” was the reaction to his full debut from Brown - who qualifies through a Glasgow-born mother able to watch it on television. “I got goosebumps when I was walking out, the atmosphere was really good. It was something I’ve obviously been waiting for for a long time, so I’m just happy for it to finally come. It meant a lot for me and I think for all the players and staff as well, having already qualified, we all wanted to end on a high and go out and win. Unfortunately we didn’t manage that, but we put a shift in and we’re just looking forward to the Euros now.”
The player only discovered the day before he would be starting when Clarke put his players through their shape training, but was still able to drift off to slumber when his head hit the pillow on Saturday evening. And he doesn’t pat himself on the back over dutifully turning up to squads for often little reward before at last seeing his name in a Scotland starting XI. “I was thinking about it a lot [on Saturday night], but I tried to sort of not put too much pressure on myself and just enjoy the experience,” he said. “My first camp was around this time two years ago, and obviously, everyone wants to come and start. But I think you’ve just got to be patient, bide your time and keep working hard, and luckily I got the chance against Norway on my eighth appearance.”
Brown will know there are no certainties over his making the plane next June as part of Clarke’s 23-man squad, with it likely to come down to a choice between the Luton man and Lawrence Shankland. It can be forgotten, though, that Brown is the only Scotland striker currently operating in the much-vaunted English Premier League, even as he has yet to score in that domain through sometimes being utilised in wide areas. To be enjoying regular exposure in the most testing environment has Brown believing his career is on the right track to burnish his Euro 2024 credentials. “My confidence is high at the minute. I’m playing in the Premier League, which is another amazing experience,” he said. “To then come and play with these types of players at Scotland and get a start, that is obviously a massive confidence boost. Everyone wants to be in the squad, so everyone is going to be working hard, and that is what we need, to just keep pushing each other.”
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