If the pressure to pick Nathan Patterson before Scotland’s appalling opening result v the Czechs was one thing for manager Steve Clarke, it’s ramped up to defcom 50 for today’s trip to Wembley to face high-flying England.
The Auld Enemy are overwhelming favourites for this match, understandable given the quality they have, but Clarke can make things easier for himself at least by picking his best possible XI, and that most definitely includes young Patterson at the expense of hapless Stephen O’Donnell.
But of course, the mediocre manager will play it safe and stick with SOD instead, rather than buckling to pressure to pick the best man for the job, as any sane manager would.
Recently, Ukraine selected 18-year old Illia Zabarnyi to play at CB, a match in which he played well and they won.
Spain chose 18-year old Pedri, similar outcome.
Clarke simple has to pick Patterson, and ideally, Gilmour as well.
The pressure on him to actually do the right thing is enormous, and he’s never faced pressure over his team selection like this before.
SOD is a bad choice, and Gilmour too is arguably Scotland’s best midfielder already, at just 20.
If it doesn’t work out, at least Clarke cannot be accused of not giving the younger players a chance, but it’s time to stop pussy footing around the more junior members of the squad.
They’re there, and they’re better than many of the other options. And we include Celtic’s David Turnbull in this. A midfield 3 of Gilmour, Turnbull and McTominay with Tierney and Robertson out wide in front of a back three of Hendry, Cooper and Patterson evolving to a back four in defence with Robertson retreating with McGinn in the hole up top behind Adams.
Not the most horrible Scotland team ever made.
Either way, Patterson really needs to start.
But he won’t. Will he?