Teenage player gives Scotland ‘something different’, says Clarke

18-year-old Liverpool forward Ben Doak has been named in Scotland's squad for the Euros.

Scotland head coach Steve Clarke says Liverpool’s Ben Doak can provide “something a little bit different” after including the teenager in his Euro 2024 squad.

The 18-year-old has spent most of the season recovering from an injury and has only played a handful of first team games since moving to Anfield from Celtic two years ago.

But Clarke has seen enough to be confident in the teen’s abilities to get him involved with the national team for this summer’s tournament in Germany.

Speaking after confirming his 28-man provisional squad on Wednesday, the Scotland boss said: “Ben’s obviously got a lot of talent, he catches your eye.

Scotland head coach Steve Clarke confirming his 28-man provisional squad on Wednesday.STV News

“The pace is something we haven’t got an abundance of in the squad. He’s something a little bit different. He’s a young man, he’s got a lot to learn in the game.

“I’ve never had the chance to work closely with Ben, but it just felt like the right opportunity to put him in. The squad going from 23 to 26 just made it something I thought I should do, so we’ll have a look at Ben and see how he does.”

For the last Euros, held across the continent three years ago, Clarke included uncapped youngsters Nathan Patterson and Billy Gilmour in his squad and both have gone on to play big parts in the team.

Bristol City’s Ross McCrorie is the only other uncapped player chosen this time around, and is one of two right-backs alongside Anthony Ralston, with Patterson and Aaron Hickey both missing out through injury.

James Forrest has earned a recall almost three years after winning his last cap and Clarke insists it was a no-brainer to include the in-form Celtic winger who rolled back the years in the title run-in to help the Hoops win the Premiership.

The manager said: “James Forrest, where do you start?

“If ever there’s an example to young players on how to conduct yourself if things are not going well for you at your club, I think James epitomises that.

“Train well, work well, keep your head down, keep believing and you never know, maybe the head coach will pick you for your country again. And that’s what he’s done.

“He’s had a fantastic finish to the season. And he obviously brings a bit of experience having been part of the squad for the last Euros. It will be nice to see James again.”

Norwich defender Grant Hanley and Rangers midfielder Ryan Jack have been included despite their lack of game time at club level in recent months following injuries.

“Ryan’s been quite an important part of the squad in my time as head coach,” said Clarke.

“He missed the last Euros through injury and he hasn’t had the best finish to the season with Rangers, but I know he has been fit for the last two or three weeks and just hasn’t been selected at the club, which is unfortunate for Ryan.

“But I think he deserves to be there. He’s a little bit different to the other midfield players I’ve got.”

Clarke will trim two players from his squad when he names his final 26-man group after friendlies against Gibraltar and Finland.

“I just wanted to give myself a little bit of breathing space to have a look at certain players, how they are, how their fitness is,” he said, explaining why he named a provisional group of 28.

“One or two are still on a return-to-play, if you like, over the next ten days plus the friendlies. It’s just to buy a bit of time.”

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code