Ryan Porteous: Competition for Scotland places can only spur me on

The Watford defender says 'nobody's place is safe' ahead of the Euros.

Ryan Porteous: Competition for Scotland places can only spur me on SNS Group

Ryan Porteous says competition for a place in the Scotland Euro 2024 squad can help him reach his highest levels, with nobody assured of a spot in Steve Clarke’s final 23.

The national team is training ahead of their friendlies against Netherlands and Northern Ireland, with the games seen as vital preparation for this summer’s Euros.

Watford defender Porteous, who has gained earned nine Scotland caps since making his debut against Ukraine in 2022, is determined to be a part of the team that faces Germany in the opening match in June, and the 24-year-old says that training has shown that everyone else is of a similar mind.

“Just with the size of the squad and the amount of competition that’s there, the closer we get to the Euros, obviously everyone is right at it,” he said.

“But to be fair, that’s the kind of standard that’s been set within the group over the last three or four years.

“With the group getting bigger, the appetite for places is going to increase. Everyone wants to be a part of it and they are showing it out there.

“Everyone is on the same path to ensure that Scotland as a team grows on and off the pitch. I think we’ve done that but there’s big games coming up where we can show that on the park.”

Ryan Porteous has nine international caps and scored in qualifying against Cyprus. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

Clarke will have to make tough decisions in the coming months as the manager finalises his squad for the tournament and though Porteous believes the midfield is probably the most competitive area of the squad, there’s no shortage of centre-backs in contention.

The defender said he can’t take anything for granted and will have to impress for club and country between now and June.

“It’s been about a year to 18 months that I’ve been a regular part of the squad and starting games,” Porteous said.

“I’ve really enjoyed it and I feel comfortable in there. But nobody’s place is safe.

You need to keep showing it in games, in training and for your club as well. So I’ll keep working hard.

“There’s healthy competition. You’ve got fantastic centre-backs in the group, fantastic players in general. There’s a lot of competition so I think that can only spur me on.

“I don’t think there’s any easy places up for grabs.”

Friday’s match against Netherlands will be the latest in a series of difficult games, after facing Spain in qualifying and taking on England and France in the second half of 2023. Porteous said he welcomes the chance to go up against top-level sides and that the lessons learned can stand the team in good stead.

“I think these two games are about showing what we can do, particularly in the first game, against the top teams,” he said.

“That’s why we picked the previous two games against England and France, because we want to try to compete against the best and learn from the last Euros and taking it forward, These games are more about developing as a team. Hopefully we can do that.

“I don’t think we’re far off. There are certain things we’ve analysed from within these games that we might not do against so-called lesser teams but it’s a good opportunity for us.

“These are the games that we want to be playing in.

“Hopefully, it will make us ready when the time comes.”

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