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Get to know your Scotland Men’s U21 Squad

Scotland Men’s U21s return to action next month, with Head Coach Scot Gemmill naming a 22-man squad for matches against Turkey and Austria.

The young Scots will play Turkey in Istanbul on Monday, June 3, before heading to Vienna to face Austria on Friday, June 7.

The matches parallel the Men’s A squad’s warm-up games against Gibraltar and Finland, which are held on the same days as Steve Clarke’s team prepares for EURO 2024.

Get to know this talented young group.

Azeem Kerr Abdulai plays as a midfielder for EFL Championship club Swansea City. The 19-year-old started his footballing career at the Jimmy Johnstone Academy, a charitable foundation and community and grassroots hub based in Glasgow. He played there from the age of 10 until his move to Celtic came in 2012. Abdulai would play for Celtic until he was sixteen, at which point the club would release him. This left him in a state of flux as he looked for another team, having trials with Brentford and AFC Wimbledon. Russell Martin picked Abdulai for the Emirates FA Cup match-day squad against Southampton in January, only four months into his career as a central midfielder.

He has represented Scotland at U21 international level, making his debut in March 2023.

After starting his early career in Celtic’s development system and working his way up, Vincent Angelini joined Watford at the age of 17. Vincent played for the U21 team at Vicarage Road and was able to train regularly with the first team. He also joined them for preseason. Vincent joined Brentford’s B Team after playing for Watford’s U21 team in the youth setup. In the 2021–2022 season, he also appeared for the Hornets on the first-team bench against the Bees, West Ham United, and Tottenham Hotspur.

Matthew Anderson joined Celtic’s Academy at the age of 13 having previously been at Motherwell. Taking his first steps into professional football via the B team, Anderson signed his first professional contract with the club in June 2020 at the age of 16. In August 2023, Celtic decided to send Anderson out on load to Austrian club FC Admira Wacker Mödling. He would be expected to make an impression, develop as both an individual and footballer, and then head back to Lennoxtown to try out for the First Team. Youth international Anderson, who has already established himself as a mainstay for Thomas Pratl’s team, appears to have succeeded. The 20-year-old has participated in every one of his team’s six home games thus far, starting every one of those matches.

Lennon Miller is called up for the first time at the U21 level. Miller started his training at just six within Motherwell’s youth system. Six days after turning sixteen, on August 31, 2022, he made his senior debut as a second-half replacement in a 4-0 home victory against Inverness CT in the Scottish League Cup. Making history, he was the club’s youngest player in a major competition in its 136-year existence. Miller made his Scotland U16s debut against England in August 2021, scoring directly from the kick-off as play resumed at the start of the second half the strike was captured on video and was later named Goal of the Year in Scottish international football at all levels. Miller represented Scotland’s U17s in the 2022 UEFA European U17 Championship competition in Israel and was still young enough to compete again when the Scots qualified for the 2023 event in Hungary.

Robert Julian Apter is presently a right midfield for Blackpool FC in the EFL League One. Aged eight years old, Apter enrolled in the Tranmere Rovers Academy, where he stayed until his release aged sixteen. In May 2019, Apter signed a two-year professional deal with the option to extend it by one more year in November 2020, and he also obtained a two-year scholarship at Blackpool. Later that month, he made his senior debut in a 3–0 EFL Trophy victory over Leeds United U21 as a substitute. On January 26, 2021, Apter made his league debut as a late substitution in a 5-0 victory over Wigan Athletic away from home, setting up their game-winning goal. He received the League Football Education’s The 11 award for U18 players in February 2021, together with 33 other players. In September 2021, Apter was called up to the Scotland U19s. On 12 January 2024, Apter signed a new three-and-a-half-year contract with Blackpool, returning to Tranmere for a second loan until the end of the season.

He made his debut for the U19s on 10 November 2021 against Armenia. He scored his first goal for them three days later in a 3–0 victory over Gibraltar.

Scottish midfielder Connor Clark Barron plays for Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership. Barron began playing boys’ football with Kintore United F.C. at the age of eight. After being noticed by Aberdeen Youth Academy, he played at all age levels and eventually signed a professional deal to play for the U18s before moving up to the senior club. Barron made his senior debut for Aberdeen on January 22, 2022, entering the game as a halftime substitute in a 3–0 Scottish Cup victory over Edinburgh City. He had signed a contract with the Dons that would tie him to the team through 2024 two weeks prior.
In addition, he played for Scotland’s U16, U17, and U21 squads.

Lyall Cameron started playing with Club 83 as a youngster before switching to Fairmuir, which at the time was one of the top Sunday league teams. After that, Dundee United scouted him, and he played for them until around 14 years old. At the start of the 2019–20 season, Lyall made his first team debut as a 16-year-old away at Raith Rovers in the Betfred Cup. A graduate of the junior programme, Lyall made his Dundee box debut in the opening game of the next season after being left off the field on the last day of the 2018–19 campaign. He went on to make two more appearances for the team; one in the Ladbrokes Championship against Dunfermline and the other in the William Hill Scottish Cup against Motherwell.

Bristol City’s Tommy Conway is a forward. At seven years old, Conway enrolled in Bristol City’s youth programme. Before moving on loan to Bath City in October 2020, he started his senior career in 2019–20 with Yate Town. On April 5, 2021, he made his Bristol City professional debut in a 1-3 Championship loss to Coventry City. On May 1, 2021, he scored his first goal as a professional in a 4-1 loss against Millwall. Conway made a breakthrough into the first team during the 2022–23 season, and his outstanding start earned him the August 2022 EFL Young Player of the Month title. In a 2023–24 FA Cup third-round encounter at London Stadium versus West Ham United, Conway first scored the game’s equaliser before scoring the game’s lone goal.

Adam Devine, a graduate of the Rangers Academy, agreed to a contract extension on September 29, 2020, with the team through 2022. Devine signed a one-year loan deal with Partick Thistle, then in the Scottish Championship, on March 6, 2021. The transfer was terminated after just two weeks, and on March 23, Devine signed with League Two team Brechin City. He made eleven league games for City, his debut being on March 23, 2021, as a starter in a 2-0 loss to Stranraer away from home.
Devine, who agreed to a contract that would expire in the summer of 2023, was one of five young players who signed new contracts with Rangers on June 8, 2021. Devine replaced James Tavernier in the 66th minute to make his Rangers debut.

After spending time in Hearts’ development system, the opposition team in the Edinburgh derby, Josh Doig signed his first contract with Hibernian in the summer of 2019. He was loaned to League Two team Queen’s Park for the remainder of the 2019–20 season after inking a deal with Hibernian in February 2020 that would last until the summer of 2023. Doig signed a new, long-term contract with Hibernian on November 20, 2021. However, in July 2022, Hibs accepted an offer for Doig from Italian club Hellas Verona that was greater than £3 million. On July 13, 2022, Doig signed a four-year contract with Hellas Verona, completing his transfer to the Italian team. With a 10% sell-on option in favour of Verona on a future move, Doig reportedly paid €6 million plus €1 million in add-ons to join fellow Serie A team Sassuolo on January 20, 2024.

At youth level, Kai Fotheringham joined Dundee United. He extended his deal with the team until 2023 in August 2020. On October 7, 2020, he made his senior debut in a Scottish League Cup match, winning 6-2 against Brechin City. On January 27, 2021, he made his league debut against St Mirren in a 5-1 Scottish Premiership loss. In March 2021, Fotheringham made his debut for League One team Falkirk against Montrose after being loaned to them. Three days later, he came on as a substitute in Falkirk’s Scottish Cup match against Arbroath and scored the game’s last goal.
Fotheringham went on a season-long loan to Scottish Championship team Raith Rovers in July 2021.

Fotheringham signed a loan deal with Cove Rangers, a team in Scottish League One, on February 2, 2022, for the balance of the 2021–2022 campaign. After that, in August 2022, he was loaned to Stirling Albion, although he was brought back to the Dundee United first squad six months later to continue his development.

Lewis Fiorini, an attacking midfielder, started his professional career at Manchester City and has advanced through many age levels. He committed to Manchester City until the summer of 2026 when he signed a new long-term deal on July 2, 2021. Fiorini joined Charlton Athletic on loan for the remainder of the 2023–2024 season on January 5, 2024.

Max Johnston joined Motherwell at the age of twelve, went through the academy, and then joined the main team before the 2020–21 campaign. On February 13, 2021, Johnston made his Steelmen debut as a substitute against Hamilton Academical in the Lanarkshire derby. Allan, Johnston’s father, was the previous manager of the Doonhamers. Johnston signed a season-long loan agreement with Queen of the South on September 1, 2021. In September 2022, he was then loaned to Cove Rangers. On January 1, 2023, Johnston was called up to the Cove after ten games. After that, he established himself as a mainstay in Motherwell’s first squad and was named the 2022–2023 SFWA Young Player of the Year. Johnston signed a deal with Austrian Bundesliga team Sturm Graz on July 25, 2023, with an expiration date of summer 2027.

From the age of four to eight, Connor McAvoy was a Staines Town football player. In 2010, McAvoy became a Fulham player at the age of eight, and he advanced through the age levels. On July 1st, 2018, he accepted a two-year scholarship offer, and a short time after, he was chosen to play for Scotland U18. He ultimately had his first taste of first-team football when he was sent out on loan to Wealdstone in October 2021, having advanced to the U23 squad and been awarded the skipper. His performances were so good that the initial one-month loan was doubled, allowing him to stay with the team for the rest of the 2021–2022 season. His tenure at the club was so successful that he was named player of the season. After being granted permission to train with the first team the next preseason, McAvoy flew to Portugal and turned in a strong performance in a 2-0 victory against Nice in Ligue 1. Later, in the EFL Cup second round, he was left off the pitch and only made the bench in a 2-0 loss to Crawley Town.

On January 31, 2023, he was loaned out once more, this time to Partick Thistle for the balance of the 2022–2023 campaign. But McAvoy suffered a serious injury just over six weeks into the season, ending his season, and he went back to Fulham.

Early in his career, Leon King joined Rangers and seemed like one of the team’s best prospects. In November 2018, he made his debut for the Rangers U20s, coached by Graeme Murty, at the age of 14. He was also a member of the team that defeated Celtic to win the Scottish Youth Cup at the end of the 2018–19 campaign. In a League Cup encounter against Falkirk on November 29, 2020, King made his debut for the Rangers. On May 12, 2021, he made his Scottish Premiership debut, coming on in place of Joe Aribo in the 86th minute of a 3-0 victory over Livingston away from home. After King signed a contract extension on January 5, 2022, which ran until the summer of 2024, he was promoted to the first-team squad full-time.

Adedire Mebude enrolled in the Rangers programme at the age of 10 and advanced through the ranks until turning down a contract offer at sixteen. He started training at Manchester City’s academy in September 2020. In July 2021, he penned his first professional deal with Manchester City. Mebude’s negotiations for a new contract with Manchester City apparently came to an impasse in August 2022. Tottenham Hotspur, PSV Eindhoven, and Club Brugge were among the other Premier League teams said to be interested in signing the midfielder. Mebude moved from Manchester City to KVC Westerlo on July 26, 2023, reportedly paying up to £1.65 million. On August 6, 2023, he made his competitive debut after entering from the bench in a 1-0 victory. Mebude signed a loan deal with Bristol City, an EFL Championship team, on February 1, 2024, and stayed until the end of the season. He made his debut in Bristol City’s 3-1 victory over Southampton at home as a substitute.

Michael Mellon began his career at the Manchester United Academy before joining Burnley in the summer of 2019 as an U16 player. During his debut game for Tony Philliskirk’s U18 team during their Prague trip, he scored a late equaliser against Altınordu, a Turkish team. In July 2020, after his first season with the club, he signed a two-year scholarship. He played many times for the young squad. Mellon signed his first professional contract in February 2022, which was for three and a half years, ending in the summer of 2025. In January 2023, Mellon went to Morecambe on loan. On January 24, 2023, Mellon made his senior debut against Ipswich Town’s Portman Road in a League One away game, losing 4-0. Ahead of 2023–24, he returned to Morecambe on a season-long loan. On October 28, 2023, he defeated AFC Wimbledon 4-1 in the league to record his first hat trick of the season. On January 8, 2024, after an amazing run of fifteen goals in twenty-seven matches, he was called up by Burnley. Mellon went on loan to Scottish Premiership team Dundee on January 26, 2024, with a season-long stay. The next day, he made his league debut coming off the bench, scoring twice and providing two assists in a league triumph away against Livingston. Tony Docherty, the manager of Dundee, was pleased with his performance. Mellon had a severe head injury during a victory against St Johnstone on February 11, 2024. On February 24, Mellon made a comeback to the pitch while playing away at Hibernian.

Mulligan joined Dundee as a substitute in the season’s last match against St. Mirren, making his debut on the squad. The next season, Mulligan would play in the Scottish League Cup. Mulligan joined Scottish League Two leaders Cove Rangers on loan in January 2020 and stayed there until the end of the campaign. Mulligan signed a new deal with Dundee in October 2020, tying him to the team until 2023. He then signed a season-long loan with Scottish League One team Peterhead. Mulligan had an excellent first half of the season, but in January 2022 Dundee called him up early. In February, he would start the team’s first game—a triumph over Heart of Midlothian on the road. In the Scottish Cup, Mulligan would score his first goal for Dundee against his old team, Peterhead. He would score his first league goal in a 3-1 triumph over Hibernian. In an away victory over Raith Rovers, Mulligan would net the game-winning goal to give Dundee their first league victory of the 2022–2023 season. Mulligan will remain with Dundee until the summer of 2025 after agreeing to a new two-year deal, the club announced on June 3, 2023.

Liam Morrison played as a young player for Scottish giants Celtic and Rangers. He was born in Saltcoats, Scotland. Following a string of strong showings with the latter, he was supposedly connected to a transfer to many English teams as well as the German team 1899 Hoffenheim. In June 2019, he was elevated to the first team of Celtic for the pre-season friendly in Austria and Switzerland. Morrison was being signed by Bayern Munich, the reigning German champions, at this point, before Celtic managed to get him a professional deal. Morrison signed for Bayern in August 2019 despite Celtic’s best efforts to convince him to stay. He subsequently disclosed that the major reason he signed was the clear road to the German team’s first team. The English daily The Guardian listed him as one of the 60 greatest young talents in the world in October 2020. Morrison was acknowledged for having assisted his younger countryman in assimilating into the team, following Barry Hepburn’s similar transfer from Celtic to Bayern. He relocated to England on June 27, 2023, and signed a loan with Wigan Athletic of EFL League One for the 23/24 Season.

At the age of six, Jack Newman started playing for Stocksfield Football Club. At twelve, he joined Prudhoe Town and played for both teams. He was signed by Sunderland, a Premier League team, a year later, and went through their academy. after advancing through Sunderland’s well-regarded Academy of Light. Newman penned his initial deal with the team. Against Liverpool at the commencement of the U18 Premier League North 2018–19 season, he was the lone first-year scholar in the starting lineup. Following his preseason stint with the Tangerines, Newman signed a two-year contract with Scottish Premiership team Dundee United, which was announced on July 10, 2020. Newman was loaned to The Spartans of the Lowland League in September of 2021. Newman joined Peterhead on loan in July 2022, and the following day, he made his Premier Sports Cup debut against Aberdeen. On August 31, Newman was called up to United, bringing an end to his stay at Balmoor. In February 2023, Newman made his competitive debut for Dundee by replacing the injured Mark Birighitti. A week later, in an away 4-0 loss to Ross County in Dingwall, he made his debut in full. Near the end of the season, in June 2023, Newman signed a new two-year contract that would keep him at Tannadice until 2025.

Cieran Slicker was a Manchester City youth player. On November 17, 2020, he made his professional debut for the club’s U21 squad in an EFL Trophy match against Lincoln City. Slicker completed a loan deal with Rochdale, an EFL League Two team, in July 2022, for the 2022–2023 campaign. On August 9, 2022, he made his debut for Rochdale in the EFL Cup, as the team defeated Burton Albion 2-0. Slicker was called up by Manchester City on January 11, 2023, after making three appearances for Rochdale—two in the EFL Cup and one in the EFL Trophy. In July 2023, he agreed to a three-year contract with Ipswich Town for an unknown sum.

David Watson began training with Kilmarnock at the age of seven, and at ten, he formally enrolled in the club’s youth programme. He agreed to a two-year professional deal on September 3, 2021, and the next day, in a Scottish Challenge Cup victory against Falkirk, he made his senior debut as a late replacement. In May 2023, he signed a new two-year deal. When the 2023–24 season got underway, Watson was still a mainstay in the starting eleven and received high marks for his efforts as Kilmarnock won both the League Cup and the Premiership by a combined score of 1-0 at Rugby Park in a span of only two weeks. Following additional standout performances for the first squad, he inked a new contract extension in November 2023 that would keep him with the organisation until 2026. To qualify for the UEFA Europa League in 2024–25, Kilmarnock placed fourth in the Premiership, and Watson’s efforts were honoured with Young Player of the Year accolades.

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