For many years Scotland were not represented in the Premier League, with top-tier talent plying their trade at the top end of the division. Darren Fletcher was a rare presence for Manchester United in the middle of the park, but Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City looked elsewhere for their stars. However, stars are beginning to emerge to become key players down the league, which has resulted in the elite of the Premier League snapping up the talent for premium prices.
Andrew Robertson started the trend following his move to Liverpool. The Scotland captain has developed into one of the finest left-backs in the world and was crucial in the Reds’ triumph in the Champions League over Tottenham. Robertson’s performances and leadership ability have been seized upon and he dons the armband at international level. The 25-year-old is among a crop of talented players that will be determined to lead Scotland back to a major competition after a 21-year drought. Under new manager Steve Clarke, they could be worth a shout in the free football tips to qualify for Euro 2020, having guaranteed at least a shot in the playoffs.
A lot will depend on the performances of the group, although elements of the squad are beginning to play at a higher standard, which will only benefit the national team. Kiernan Tierney appears to be the latest player on the move and he could be destined for a transfer to Arsenal, where he could lock down the left-back position for the next decade at the Emirates Stadium. Only the performances of Robertson has nudged him to right-back for the national team, but versatility will be a key factor moving forward for club and country. Even if the move does not happen in the summer, at the age of 22, he is a prime spot in his career to wait for the right moment.
The midfield is probably the most intriguing and could be the driving force behind a run to the Euros. John McGinn caught the eye of every team in Scotland during his time with Hibernian in the Scottish Premier League. Aston Villa managed to convince him to move south in a £3.5m deal and he was everything the club hoped and more in the middle of the park. His skill and combative play in the midfield was a vital element in their promotion to the Premier League.
The 24-year-old was even linked with a move to Manchester United for a fee in the region of £50m. His first season in the Premier League will be fascinating to watch. United could have paired him with Scott McTominay in their midfield. He broke into the team two seasons ago and continues to earn the trust and praise of his managers at Old Trafford. McTominay has the size and strength to become a lynchpin in front of the back four for the foreseeable future.
Ryan Fraser has been a revelation for Bournemouth. Last season he created 14 goals for the Cherries, only Eden Hazard provided more assists in the Premier League. The 25-year-old has been one of the best attacking players in the league for the past three seasons, which has caught the attention of Arsenal among others at the top end of the table. Fraser added goals to his game in the 2018/19 campaign, notching seven strikes for Eddie Howe’s men. If he is able to maintain that standard of form for club and country, Scotland could be on to a winner in the final third.
Strikers are in short supply at the moment, although salvation could be on the way in the form of Oli McBurnie. He completed a £20m move to newly-promoted Sheffield United and will get a crack at the Premier League with the Blades, having been given brief opportunities by Swansea City. Clarke and his staff will be watching his progress with great interest to see whether he can rise up like Robertson.