Wilson shines as Scotland's new-look team take shape

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The Independent Online

Danny Wilson claims he is "living the dream" after his debut goal for Scotland helped Craig Levein's makeshift side to a 3-0 friendly win over the Faroe Islands at Pittodrie on Tuesday night.

The 18-year-old defender has enjoyed a meteoric rise in his career since making his debut over a year ago for Rangers. Impressive displays at the heart of the Ibrox defence earned him a lucrative move to Liverpool in the summer and his breakthrough into the Scotland Under-21 side was usurped when he was drafted into the senior squad for the visit of the Faroes.

Admittedly, the Scotland manager had left out several regulars from his initial squad and then suffered a raft of call-offs, but Wilson made the most of his opportunity, volleying in from Charlie Adam's corner before goals by Kris Commons and Jamie Mackie completed an easy win for the Scots.

Asked if his rise to stardom had been difficult to grasp, Wilson said: "Yes, I think so. This time last year I had only just broken into the Rangers team. A couple of months before that I was still playing reserve football.

"So if you told me that a year and a bit on I would be playing for the full national team and scoring on my debut I would never have believed you.

"I am living the dream right now and I don't want it to stop. I've done things in the past year that I never thought I would be able to do in my first year in football.

"I want to do better every time I go on the pitch and, hopefully, I get opportunities to do that."

The Anfield defender, who took a knock which resulted in him coming off on the hour mark, continued: "I was delighted to get my first cap. I didn't expect to start the game when the squad was announced but there were calls-off and that gave me the opportunity.

"I felt I gave a good account of myself but I am disappointed that I picked up the injury early doors. For my goal I managed to get myself a yard of space and the ball came to my right foot, which has never been my strongest, but I managed to put it in."

Despite a scoring debut for the senior team, Wilson would have no qualms about dropping back down to the Scotland Under-21 side.

He said: "I understand this team has a lot of quality players to come back so I wouldn't be disappointed. I just need to wait and see. I need to keep working hard but if I get picked for the 21s, I will go back and play for them, no problem at all."

Levein claimed Scotland's victory over offered glimpses of a bright future for his team as the manager saluted the performance of Barry Bannan.

The Aston Villa midfielder was among seven players who made their Scotland debuts at Pittodrie and the 20-year-old grasped his opportunity with a mature display. Bannan constantly showed for the ball, especially in a first half in which Wilson, Commons and Mackie all netted their first international goals.

Bannan almost joined them with a 25-yard strike that bounced off the post and set up Mackie's goal with a deep cross that was headed on by Wilson. The diminutive midfielder's assured touch and ingenuity strengthened Levein's belief that Scotland have a group of technically gifted players emerging.

The manager said: "I'm happy with the result, that was the most important thing. It was a worthwhile exercise, it gave me a chance to look at some players.

"To that end there were a number of players who did exactly what I hoped they would do. People don't understand how difficult it is to make your international debut, no matter who you are playing against.

"I felt young Bannan, in particular, after a shaky first five minutes or so, really settled down and showed glimpses of what the future is for Scottish football."

Bannan has broken into the Villa first team this season and Levein admits he can play his way into the Euro 2012 campaign, which resumes in 10 months. "If he keeps playing the way he has I would be silly not to include him," the Scotland manager said.

"He's just a young boy, I don't want to heap pressure on him but you saw he has something to offer. His rise has been pretty meteoric. I have reason to believe once he has played 75 to 80 games in the Premier League and 10 internationals we will have a top-class player on our hands."

Levein feels Bannan can join the likes of Graham Dorrans and Adam in a skilful Scotland midfield for years to come. "I have been banging the drum saying we have group of players who are technically very good," Levein added.

"I would put him in that tag with Wilson, and two of the lads who have just joined the group, Phil Bardsley and Jamie Mackie, were excellent tonight.

"And a special mention for Shaun Maloney, I thought he was brilliant and on another day his performance could have merited two or three goals. But I could go through the whole team. There wasn't anyone who let the team down," Levein added.

The manager brought on six substitutes in an effort to reduce the risk of injury but not before Blackpool midfielder Adam had limped off.

Levein, who lauded the former Rangers midfielder's passing and discipline, said: "He has just opened his knee up a tiny bit, I don't think it's too serious. Kris Commons had a little bit of a calf injury as well."

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