Scot Gemmill announced his Scotland U21 squad for the upcoming international break, and it was one that had few surprises.
Regulars such as Liam Morrison, Connor Barron and Leon King were included in the hefty team, along with some talented youngsters who have recently come through the ranks in Ben Doak and Dire Mebude.
Returning to the set-up were full-back duo Josh Doig and Max Johnston, both of whom play their club football on the continent with Hellas Verona and Sturm Graz respectively. Doak also did not make last month’s camp but has returned here. His presence will be greatly welcomed in attack by gaffer Gemmill, with the 17-year-old already having netted once for the U21s amid continued involvement with the Liverpool first team. Doak is one of the brightest talents in Scottish football at the minute and his potential is limitless; some are even calling for him to be brought up to the senior team.
Doak’s attacking compatriot Mebude recently made the permanent move to Belgium from Man City, where he scored 12 goals in the Premier League 2 last season. Similar to the Liverpool man, Mebude has already netted for the U21s and will be eager to do so yet again this camp.
As we know, the likes of Doak, Mebude, Doig, and Johnston play their football outside of Scotland, although there are several notable talents in the squad who turn out for teams in their homeland. Talented midfielder Alex Lowry is currently on loan at Hearts from Rangers meanwhile Ryan Duncan has already played 90 minutes for Aberdeen in the SPFL this season. Dundee’s Lyall Cameron has even netted in the Scottish topflight this campaign already, nodding home in a 1-1 draw against Motherwell on the opening day.
There are also a good few U21 players who are regulars in the Scottish Championship. Jack Newman is a goalkeeper who plays for Dundee United – he will look to compete for the number-one jersey with Ipswich’s Cieran Slicker. Defender Ben McPherson is on loan at Queen’s Park from Celtic, with his Hoops’ teammate Ben Summers currently enjoying a temporary spell with Dunfermline.
Both McPherson and Summers only recently departed the Scottish champions on loan deals, but they are two of a number of members of the current U21s crop who have left their teams temporarily this summer. Liam Morrison departed German giants Bayern Munich for Wigan on loan whilst Ibane Bowat (centre-back) and Kieron Bowie (forward) joined TSV Hartberg and Northampton Town respectively from Fulham. Talented left back and 2022/23 Celtic B captain Matthew Anderson signed for the Hoops’ partner club Admira Wacker in Austria’s second tier on loan also.
Most of these youngsters were playing academy football last season but now, are set to get regular minutes in the senior game. This is only positive for their own development and the performance of Scotland’s U21s who, in their upcoming camp, kick off their 2025 European Championship qualifying campaign against Spain. Other teams in their group include familiar foes Belgium and Kazakhstan, Hungary and Malta.
Gemmill’s men couldn’t have been handed a tougher start to the group, their opponents having made it to the recent Euro U21 final against England in July. Their squad, though, is about to go through a slight transition with a number of players in the 22-23 age bracket getting ready to move on. This could aid the Scots going into the clash on Monday 11th September at 7 pm at the 12,569-capacity Estadio Municipal de La Victoria in Jaen.
It will undoubtedly be an arduous tie, however, nothing is impossible. The showdown in the South of Spain is the only game Scotland’s U21s will play this international break. In October, though, they have a duo of Euro U21 qualifying home matches against Belgium and Hungary. The full focus will be on the Spaniards right now though, with Gemmill and the team looking to get their campaign off to the perfect start.
Full Scotland Under 21 Squad For September International Break
Cieran Slicker (20, Ipswich Town on loan from Manchester City)
Jude Smith (20, East Fife)
Jack Newman (21, Dundee United)
Matthew Anderson (19, Admira Wacker on loan from Celtic)
Ibane Bowat (20, Hartberg on loan from Fulham)
Josh Doig (21, Hellas Verona)
Max Johnston (19, Sturm Graz)
Leon King (19, Rangers)
Ben McPherson (19, Queen’s Park on loan from Celtic)
Lewis Neilson (20, Partick Thistle on loan from Hearts)
Liam Morrison (20, Wigan Athletic on loan from Bayern Munich)
Josh Mulligan (20, Dundee)
Jeremiah Mullen (19, Leeds United)
Azeem Abdulai (20, Swansea City)
Connor Barron (21, Aberdeen)
Ben Summers (19, Dunfermline Athletic on loan from Celtic)
Alex Lowry (20, Hearts on loan from Rangers)
Lyall Cameron (20, Dundee)
Ryan Duncan (19, Aberdeen)
Archie Meekison (21, Dundee United)
Ben Doak (17, Liverpool)
Dire Mebude (19, KVC Westerlo)
Kieron Bowie (20, Northampton Town on loan from Fulham)
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