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Scotland: Steve Clarke has ‘selection headaches all over the pitch’

‘Billy’s fine. He’s a tough boy from Ardrossan’ – Clarke allays Gilmour fears

Head coach Steve Clarke says he has “selection headaches all over the pitch” for Euro 2020 after Scotland’s successful warm-up matches.

Clarke’s side followed up the 2-2 draw with the Netherlands by winning 1-0 at 10-man Luxembourg eight days before the Group D opener against Czech Republic.

Only the self-isolating John Fleck and third-choice goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin did not feature in either friendly.

“All the players have to be in your thoughts,” said Clarke.

“It’s about fine-tuning towards certain opponents. Different opponents will require different personnel.

“The boys who played in midfield against Holland were really good. Different midfield tonight and I have headaches all over the pitch. Everybody is fighting and with a viable chance of being involved in the three games.

“I’ve lots to think about and that’s what you want as head coach. Everyone has to be ready.”

Billy Gilmour shone on his second cap in Luxembourg, with fellow 19-year-old Nathan Patterson making a solid debut off the bench at right-back, while midfielder David Turnbull, 21, made his first appearance against the Dutch.

Che Adams scored his second Scotland goal to defeat Luxembourg and was paired with Lyndon Dykes in attack as Clarke assessed his options with seven changes from the Netherlands stalemate.

Gilmour came on at half-time but lasted just half an hour before a high challenge from Olivier Thill led to the midfielder being withdrawn with a head knock.

“The good news is he’s fine,” Clarke said. “We took him off as a precaution. Billy is a tough boy, he’s from Ardrossan.

“I didn’t get a good view of the challenge. The reaction of the players was good, showing they’re all together.”

Clarke says his squad are “fully prepared” for the Hampden opener against the Czechs, who Scotland beat 1-0 at home in Nations League last October.

“We’re in a good place – two defeats in 16 games,” he added. “And freshness in the squad with the young boys coming in and doing well. They’ve put pressure on the more senior ones.”

‘Clarke keeping the players hungry – analysis

Former Scotland striker Billy Dodds

I get the feeling Clarke has picked his team and is just throwing that out there as a deflection. That shows his experience.

Former Scotland captain Willie Miller

Clarke isn’t going to say he knows his team for the Czech game, because he has to keep all the players hungry. The experienced ones now have something to think about and can’t take anything for granted now the young guys have done well.

I think we know what the team will be to face the Czechs, bar two or three players. But he could surprise us all.

Sourced From BBC

EltasZone Sportswriters, Sports Analysts, Opinion columnists, editorials and op-eds. Analysis from The Zone Team
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