With Scotland’s double-header against Cyprus and Spain coming up at the end of the month, I’ve decided to look at who Steve Clarke may be looking to call-up to the squad in the very near future.
by Kieran Gallagher
At only 17 years old, Ben Doak has been tipped to be the next big thing in Scottish football. Doak joined Liverpool from Celtic in the summer of 2022 and has looked very promising during his cameo appearances for ‘the reds’ this season.
Although Doak has only made five competitive appearances for Liverpool’s first team, the winger has been tearing it up with the reserves and Scotland under-21.
Scotland has often struggled for wingers, considering our usual system consists of central midfielders and wing-backs, however, if Doak continues to shine at Liverpool, he may force a change of formation for Steve Clarke’s men, should the boss decide to call him up.
This could be a tricker call-up for Steve Clarke, considering the man in question hasn’t actually declared for Scotland! Angus Gunn has made 19 appearances for Norwich City this season, who are currently sitting sixth in the English Championship.
With Craig Gordon out for the foreseeable future, Scotland should be starting to look at who the future number-one could be for the national side. Angus Gunn is an experienced and relaxed goalkeeper and could be the man to step into Craig Gordon’s shoes for the time being.
Although Gunn had previously rejected to play for Scotland in the hopes of earning an English call-up, that doesn’t seem to be happening any time soon. It wasn’t too long ago that Che Adams had a similar mentality to Gunn, and he is now one of Steve Clarke’s key players.
Ryan Gauld has been one of Vancouver Whitecaps’ key players, picking up their ‘Player of the Year’ award last season. Despite his form in the MLS, Gauld is yet to receive a call-up to the national team.
The former Dundee United and Sporting Lisbon star has admitted that his head could be turned if a Scotland cap doesn’t come his way soon, with the 26-year-old eligible to declare for Canada at the end of his contract next year.
"You can never say never” Gauld admitted in an interview with the Canadian podcast ‘Away from the numbers’.
“I've not actually thought about it, but who knows what is going to happen in the future.
"I'm not looking at forcing my way into the Scotland set-up. If it happens, it happens, if not we'll see where it is in a few years and what will be will be.”
Dominic Hyam has been one of high-flying Blackburn Rovers’ key players this season, making 28 appearances for the side that currently sits fourth in the EFL Championship.
Scotland has often had problems at centre-back over the years, with not a great deal of quality to choose from at the back and with players such as Jack Hendry and Scott McKenna currently unavailable for selection due to injury, Hyam seems an obvious choice to make the squad this time around.
Hyam is a great technical defender and has been an integral part of Blackburn’s success in the league thus far.
Probably the most unlikely player on this list to ever receive a call-up for Scotland, but who knows? Barnes – born in Burnley – has been a great servant to Leicester City over the past few years, making over 130 appearances for the foxes.
Barnes would qualify to play for Scotland via his grandparents, and after only playing once for England in a 3-0 friendly win over Wales, a switch of allegiances for the Leicester winger wouldn’t be out of the question.
It might not sit well for some fans however, due to the fact Barnes had turned down the opportunity to represent Scotland back in 2020, and in all honestly, logic suggests that the winger will be holding out for another England cap in the future!
Liam Kelly has been a shining light in a struggling Motherwell side as of late. The 27-year-old is yet to receive his first Scotland cap and with Craig Gordon out injured, Steve Clarke may be thinking of Kelly as a possible replacement.
Kelly has been captain of a Motherwell side who are currently struggling for any consistency in their form and have been on the end of some heavy defeats, notably a 3-1 hammering from Championship side Raith Rovers at Starks Park.
The Goalkeeper has shown some decent form throughout the season, however, keeping seven clean sheets in 28 appearances. Clarke won’t have the luxury of choosing players like Gordon, Marshall, or McGregor in the future, so it could be time for the manager to decide on his next Scotland number-one in the coming months.
Hayden Hackney is one of the more exciting prospects on the list. The 20-year-old has appeared 24 times for Middlesbrough, who are currently sitting 3rd in the EFL Championship.
Hackney has been called-up to the under 21s for this month’s double-header against Sweden and Wales, however, Scotland could be set to lose the talented youngster to England after Middlesbrough boss Michael Carrick admitted he would be having words with Hackney.
"Of course, I’ll be here to help him and to guide him” said Carrick.
“It’s a very individual thing when it comes to who you want to play for, who you see yourself playing for, and where you see yourself with the ties with your family.
"That is a very individual thing, but of course, I’m here to speak to Hayden, or indeed any of the other boys, when they need it or think it might help them.
Hackney is eligible for both Scotland and England, and with Newcastle United youngster Elliot Anderson set to make the switch to England after dismissing his call-up to the under-21 side, it would be a shame to lose out on yet another talented youngster.