Scotland name two uncapped players in Euro 2024 provisional squad – as three injury blows confirmed

Ben Doak, 18, was a surprise inclusion but Lewis Ferguson, Aaron Hickey and Nathan Patterson all miss out

Jamie Braidwood
Wednesday 22 May 2024 15:07
Liverpool’s Ben Doak is in Scotland’s provisional squad
Liverpool’s Ben Doak is in Scotland’s provisional squad (Getty)

Scotland have included uncapped Liverpool forward Ben Doak and Bristol City right back Ross McCrorie in their provisional 28-player squad for Euro 2024, named by Steve Clarke.

There were recalls for Celtic winger James Forrest and Rangers midfielder Ryan Jack but Bologna star Lewis Ferguson and right backs Aaron Hickey and Nathan Patterson all miss out due to injury.

Scotland will play in their second men’s major tournament in three years at the Euros after an impressive qualifying campaign under Clarke, but the right back position has emerged as a major problem following injuries to Brentford’s Hickey and Everton’s Patterson.

McCrorie, a former captain of Scotland’s Under-21s, has been drafted in while Forrest, 32, could be an option at right wing-back if required. Forrest was last called up by Scotland in September 2021 but played a key role in Celtic’s Premiership title win over the final two months of the season. Celtic’s Anthony Ralston has filled in at right back in recent friendlies.

The loss of Ferguson – Serie A’s midfielder of the year after Bologna qualified for the Champions League – to an ACL injury is a major blow but Clarke has greater depth in central areas with Callum McGregor, Billy Gilmour, John McGinn, Kenny McLean, Scott McTominay and Stuart Armstrong. Jack is in the provisional group but has not played since March due to injury.

Clarke said his squad selection offers “breathing space” with “half a dozen” who are coming back from injury or time on the sidelines. There will also be a number of players involved when Celtic face Rangers in the Scottish Cup final at Hampden on Saturday or, in the case of McTominay, the FA Cup final between Manchester United and Manchester City at Wembley.

“We can take a look at them over our 10 days together in the pre-camp. That was the thinking behind the 28,” Clarke said after announcing his squad at Hampden. “26 will go to the Euros and two will miss out. That’s unfortunate but such is the life of a head coach, you’ve got to make those decisions.”

The loss of Lewis Ferguson to an ACL injury is a blow (Getty)

Doak is a wildcard option. Scotland are not blessed with pace but the fleet-footed 18-year-old winger made five appearances for Liverpool in the first half of the season before injury in the second half of the year stalled his progress under Jurgen Klopp.

“Ben has a lot of talent, he catches your eye, the pace is something we haven’t got in abundance,” Clarke said. “It’s a little bit different, he’s young and has a lot to learn in the game. It just seemed like the right opportunity with the squad going from 23 to 26.”

On Forrest’s recall, Clarke said the winger had been an “example” after working his way back into the Scotland fold. Forrest found himself out of the Celtic squad until March, before scoring four goals in his final seven appearances of the campaign and forcing Clarke to reconsider his plans.

“James, where do you start? If ever there’s an example to young players on how to conduct yourself if things aren’t going well at your club,” Clarke said. “James epitomises that. He’s had a fantastic finish to the season. It’ll be nice to see him again. He’s worked really hard. You’re looking and thinking, wow, James is back to where he was three or four years ago. That was something I couldn’t overlook.”

Forrest last played for Scotland at Euro 2020 three years ago (Getty)

Clarke will have to name his final 26-player squad by 8 June but has named four goalkeepers in his provisional list with the 41-year-old Craig Gordon set to vie with Liam Kelly for the final spot alongside Angus Gunn and Zander Clark. Captain Andy Robertson will lead the group, with the rest of defence, apart from right back, fairly settled from qualifying.

Scotland reached a second European Championships in a row after making a brilliant start to their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign, which included wins over Spain at Hampden and Norway in Oslo, finishing second in their group to secure an automatic qualification spot.

They will open the tournament against hosts Germany in Munich on 14 June before facing Switzerland and Hungary in Group A. Scotland will play Gibraltar in Faro on 3 June and host Finland at Hampden Park on 7 June before Clarke names his final selection.

Scotland’s Euro 2024 squad

*Steve Clarke named a provisional 28-player squad on 22 May and will have to name his final group by 8 June

Goalkeepers: Angus Gunn (Norwich City), Zander Clark (Hearts), Craig Gordon (Hearts), Liam Kelly (Motherwell).

Defenders: Andy Robertson (Liverpool), Kieran Tierney (Real Sociedad), Jack Hendry (Al Ettifaq), Ryan Porteous (Watford), Liam Cooper (Leeds United), Scott McKenna (FC Copenhagen), Grant Hanley (Norwich City), Greg Taylor (Celtic), John Souttar (Rangers), Anthony Ralston (Celtic), Ross McCrorie (Bristol City).

Midfielders: Callum McGregor (Celtic), Ryan Christie (Bournemouth), Billy Gilmour (Brighton & Hove Albion), John McGinn (Aston Villa), Kenny McLean (Norwich City), Scott McTominay (Manchester United), Stuart Armstrong (Southampton), Ryan Jack (Rangers).

Forwards: Lyndon Dykes (Queen’s Park Rangers), Che Adams (Southampton), Lawrence Shankland (Hearts), Ben Doak (Liverpool), James Forrest (Celtic).

Scotland’s Euro 2024 fixtures

Friday 14 June: Scotland vs Germany, Munich, 8pm BST

Wednesday 19 June: Scotland vs Switzerland, Cologne, 8pm BST

Sunday 23 June: Scotland vs Hungary, Stuttgart, 8pm BST

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