Scotland manager Steve Clarke admits he has an eye on Liverpool FC’s Ben Doak as he assesses his attacking options before next summer’s European Championship.
The impressive winger has been tipped to break into Clarke’s squad over the coming months. Calls for the 17-year-old to be called up to the senior team got louder after he performed brilliantly against Spain for Scotland U21s on Monday night.
Despite losing, Doak received a standing ovation from sections of the Spanish home support in Jaen. Steve Clarke had some thoughts about Doak and his progress:
“Anybody who watched the under-21 game on Monday night - and I did watch it - could see he is really good. In the first half I thought he was really good, in the second half he didn’t get in the game quite so much.
“He is a young man learning the game. Going away and playing against Spain under-21s away and being one of the highlights of the game is good for him. I was actually quite pleased with quite a lot of the young boys. I thought they did well, they competed well with Spain. So you look down and think, ‘Yeah, we can continue to improve’ That is what we are trying to do.
“Let’s just see how things pan out. He is a young man, he is a very exciting talent, but sometimes you have to let them grow a bit.”
I think that’s the right approach, honestly. Although Doak is set to be given an extended run of games in the Europa League and domestic competitions, he’s really played only one senior game this season - a substitute appearance against Chelsea on the opening day of the season. There’s no rush here. Let Ben get more games after his belt and avoid hyping him up unnecessarily.