Scotland Euro 2024 warm-up opponents revealed as conclusion reached on Anthony Gordon allegiance
The Scots will be based in the Bavarian ski resort of Garmisch Partenkirchen when they reach the host nation, where they face Germany in the tournament’s opening game before taking on Switzerland and Hungary.
Steve Clarke’s desire for his side to continue testing themselves against top quality opposition will be satisfied by a game against the Dutch , currently ranked eighth in the world, on March 22.
The Scottish Football Association are also still in negotiations with other associations about a home game during the same window, probably on Tuesday, March 26. A prospective friendly against Switzerland was nixed after the teams were drawn together in Group A.
The countdown to the tournament has already begun. Clarke will spend the next weeks and months putting the finishing touches to his 23-man squad although he has already stressed that its composition won’t differ markedly from those announced during the qualification campaign.
It’s understood that Newcastle United forward Anthony Gordon, who qualifies for Scotland through his grandparents, is a non-starter. He has enjoyed an excellent season for his club and scored the winning goal against Manchester United as recently as Saturday.
His sights are understandably fixed on England. This is also the case with teammate Elliot Anderson, who had a brief dalliance with Scotland earlier this year when he was called up to Clarke’s squad for games against Cyprus and England. He had already left the squad by the time of the first fixture citing a knock picked up in training. Born in Whitley Bay, the 21-year-old is also understood to be pinning his hopes on an England cap following a change of heart.
Time will tell with regards to the two players making up the quartet of Newcastle players linked to Scotland, Harvey Barnes and Tino Livramento. However, both appear to be long shots – Barnes due to a serious ankle injury and Livramento because he, too, is on England’s radar after some superb performances this season.
Clarke also urged commentators and fans to refrain from placing too much pressure on Doak, with calls to fast-track him into the A-squad from the Under 21s. The winger, who has just turned 18, has made four appearances for Liverpool this season, the latest of them four weeks ago against Toulouse in the Europa League when he was replaced at half-time.
“I think it is good for the player that he’s going to get time to develop and come through at his own pace, instead of other people maybe pushing him ahead of where he should be,” said Clarke, speaking yesterday. “That’s my opinion on Ben.”
Clarke does not have the luxury of calling up three extra players, as he did at Euro 2020 when bigger squads were permitted because of Covid. Billy Gilmour was included and he has since come through a dip in form to re-establish himself in the squad.
“It is what the good ones do,” said Clarke. “The good ones will come through. Everyone will talk about them. They will always have a dip in form, there will always be something that goes against them. Then you are looking for, Ok, what do you do next?
“I am looking at Nathan (Patterson) at Everton now, and thinking: ‘C’mon, when you are going to get in the team, when are you going to be in front of Ashley Young?’ That’s the challenge for Nathan as well.”
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