Lawrence Shankland is Scotland’s best all-round striker and should be in the final Euro 2024 squad if he keeps up his current form, according to former national team forward Kenny Miller.
Shankland was left out of manager Steve Clarke’s initial squad for this week’s international double-header against Georgia and Norway but received a late call-up after injury to Che Adams.
The Hearts forward was brought off the bench in Tbilisi with Scotland trailing 2-1 to Georgia and his injury-time header earned a point for the team and sparked conversation about his prospects of making the squad for the finals in Germany next year.
Miller believes the goal underlined the threat Shankland poses and doesn’t believe there is anyone quite like him among the players Clarke has to choose from, and he is currently in the kind of form that should earn him a place on the plane.
“If you were to ask me today and the squad was going tomorrow, I would definitely have him on the flight,” Miller told STV.
“There’s one thing there’s no doubt about, he is our biggest goal threat. The level of goals he got last year in the Premiership was great and he’s now picked up on that in the last month or so.
“He’s had European experience with Hearts as well and scored goals and now he has international experience and is scoring goals.
“If the Euros was tomorrow then, yes, but there’s six or seven months now until Germany and a lot of football to be played.
“You’ve got to come through unscathed in terms of injury and you’ve got to maintain form. I think a lot of the squad will already be ‘on the plane’ and Steve will know that but there will be two, three or four slots that are going to become available and guys that are in form at that time might play their way into Steve’s thinking.
“Lawrence has got to earn that but that goal against Georgia is not going to do any harm whatsoever.”
Clarke’s original squad for the game had Lyndon Dykes, Adams, Jacob Brown and Ryan Christie as the forwards and while Dykes and Adams have been preferred for the role leading the attack.
Miller says they have different qualities from Shankland and the Hearts star should get to build on his goal with a start against Norway at Hampden on Sunday.
“For a game like this, I would start him because I like him,” Miller added. “But there’s a reason that Steve left him out of the squad.
“What that reason is, we don’t know but we watch him every single week for Hearts and particularly recently he’s been in good goal-scoring form.
“For me, he’s probably the best all-round striker we’ve got to lead the line but what Lyndon Dykes and Che Adams maybe offer is the work-rate.
“Going into the Euros you’re going to need that hustle and bustle and work-rate and energy going into the top end of the pitch when you’re playing really good teams.
“But I really like Lawrence and I would like to see him get the chance on Sunday to stake a claim for the Euros.
“The fact that he’s been left out of the squad initially, he’s going to have to earn that spot in Steve Clarke’s squad.”
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