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Scotland's Surprising Wealth of Options Provides Steve Clarke with Tactical Conundrum

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If you were trying to pick a Premier League team made up of all Scottish players you’d probably find it quite a challenge. The recent struggles of the Scottish national team have brought into sharp focus the need to get more players from Scotland playing in top European leagues or at least dominating at the top of the domestic game.

There is no reason why Scotland cannot be a more competitive nation given the examples of Northern Ireland and Wales over recent years yet something has prevented that success, or at least relative success, materialising at national level.

Looking at the players available, it is hard to see why the team has struggled quite as much as it has. Of course, Scotland does not have the number of superstars the likes of Germany, France and England can call upon but there is enough to at least have hope of qualification to a major tournament.

The goalkeepers

Given his performances last season, Sunderland’s Jon McLaughlin is a good choice. Playing for Sunderland, he will be used to the pressure of needing to perform every week and he has outstanding ability. Craig Gordon is experienced but not a long-term option and Craig MacGillivray at Portsmouth is improving all the time, so they can provide strong competition for the starting role.

The defence

The clear star in this Scotland team is Liverpool left-back Andrew Robertson. He is a popular player in most fantasy sides regardless of nationality. Similar to the approach taken by many fans who play fantasy sports games with Paddy Power Fantasy - where you can choose from NFL, golf and football amongst others - building from the back is important, so having Robertson as one of the first picks is a good shout.
Greg Taylor is another up and coming youngster who has a bright future. His deadline day move to Celtic appears to be smart business by the Glasgow club with the Kilmarnock youngster also attracting interest from Sunderland, although he may have to play out of position considering the strength at left-back and the lack of it in the right-back role.
Charlie Mulgrew adds experience and a danger from set-pieces while Grant Hanley adds solidity. Kieran Tierney is the next star to head south after signing for Arsenal and he has to be in there somewhere, which suggests they need five at the back to make the most of their defensive talent.

The midfield

John McGinn is a class act and has to be the first name on the list for midfielders. He has been one of Aston Villa’s top performers since joining at the start of the 2018/19 season and played a key role in getting Villa into the Premier League.
Alongside him would be Scott McTominay. The Manchester United youngster still has to prove his ability at the very top but he has shown glimpses of his class. Ryan Fraser is one of the best wingers in the Premier League and is a must-have while Robert Snodgrass has a lot of experience so he is another potential option for either the wing or an attacking midfield role.

In attack

The standout choices here are pretty simple. James Forrest of Celtic alongside teammate Leigh Griffiths are very good players both technically and in terms of finishing. The other shoo-in striker has to be Sheffield United’s Oliver McBurnie who oozes talent and could be a class act for Scotland after Sheffield United paid £20m for the Swansea striker.
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