He had a good night: Scotland manager defends Hearts striker despite Dutch miss

Lawrence Shankland in actie voor Schotland tegen Nederland in Amsterdam op vrijdagavond, hoofdfoto, en bondscoach Steve Clarke, inzet <i>(Image: SNS)</i>” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/u2ieL9inKgn5VBGM3O9PVQ–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MA–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/herald_scotland_359/aa1a2f1ac8ebccb0e01ee06 2796a0d35″ data-src= “https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/u2ieL9inKgn5VBGM3O9PVQ–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MA–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/herald_scotland_359/aa1a2f1ac8ebccb0e01ee062796 a0d35″/></div>
<p><figcaption class=Lawrence Shankland in action for Scotland against the Netherlands in Amsterdam on Friday evening, main photo, and national coach Steve Clarke, inset (Image: SNS)

WITH Che Adams only playing the last 25 minutes against the Netherlands in Amsterdam on Friday evening and Lyndon Dykes not playing at all, Steve Clarke could well start with a new striker tonight.

Not that the Scotland manager gave away much when questioned by reporters yesterday about his intentions for the meeting with Northern Ireland at Hampden. “Do you want the team?” He said with raised eyebrows. “I’m going to sleep on it.”

If Clarke wakes up today and decides to change who plays up front in the friendly international, it will be no reflection whatsoever on how Lawrence Shankland performed in attack at the Johan Cruyff Arena last week.

It also won’t mean that the free-scoring Hearts captain will be punished for the scoring opportunity he spurned in the second half of last week’s encounter with the Dutch team – he was clean on target with only goalkeeper Mark Fleken managing to beat and hit the crossbar . .

Many fans and pundits have suggested that Shankland, who surprisingly got the nod ahead of Tartan Army favorites and proven performers Adams and Dykes, has blown his chances of leading his country in the Euro 2024 final in Germany in June for his glaring miss in the 4-0 defeat.

However, that is not how Clarke views things. He believed the 28-year-old, who scored 28 times in the 2023/2024 season, effectively proved he could compete with top-class international opposition during his time on the park. If anything, he believes the attacker furthered his cause.

READ MORE: Ryan Christie reveals the painful mantra of Scotland’s dressing room

“I don’t believe in that at all,” he said. “I think goal scorers are goal scorers. He worked so hard to get that opportunity. No one is more disappointed than Lawrence that he didn’t take it. But he knows there will be another chance and he will probably score it.

“No, Lawrence was good. The reason I played Lawrence against the Netherlands was to see how he plays against that level of opponents. And he was good. He has not done himself any harm.

‘Forget the score. Forget the opportunity he missed. Lawrence was good in the match. It was a good evening for Lawrence. Maybe not a good evening for everyone else. It was just one of those nights, right? When we had to score goals in qualifying, we scored goals. I have no worries.”

The Herald:

The Herald:

Clarke, who instructed his Scotland players to press the Netherlands high up the park from kick-off on Friday evening, appreciates Shankland giving him another option in the final third. He’s not about to ignore such a deadly predator because of a single shot that hit the woodwork.

“The other two boys?” he said. “We know what they can do. It would be great if one of them started scoring goals at their club and became the main man. I would have much preferred if three of them did it to enter the euro. Then it becomes a difficult choice.

“There will always be a few horses for courses in terms of the nature of the striker, the composition of the opponent and how we are going to approach the game, with a high press or a lower block. There will always be room to maneuver with the attackers. And that helps.

“He’s just a different player. Dykesy is different from Che, Che is different from Lawrence and Lawrence is different from Dyksey. They all bring something different. Dykesy and Che have their own qualities and Lawrence has his qualities.”

READ MORE: Serious Scots show they won’t laugh about euros

Clarke, he reminded the assembled media, called Shankland when he was playing for Dundee United in the second tier of Scottish football. He feels he has made huge progress as a player since then and can contribute even more.

“Lawrence has improved,” he said. “There is no doubt. I brought Lawrence into the squad on another dark night (in a 4-0 defeat to Russia in Moscow in a Euro 2020 qualifier in 2019) and he was a champion player at the time.

“But of course I saw qualities in him. I thought: ‘If he continues to develop as he is developing’. And he did that. He has now scored goals for the third best team in Scotland at Hearts this year.

“He scores goals week in week out. It doesn’t matter who he plays against. He will score against Celtic and Rangers, he will score against Livi at the bottom or against St. Johnstone. He scores goals.”

The Herald: The Herald:

The Herald:

Clarke would like some of his Scotland players to keep their shooting boots on tonight.

The national team, which has lost to England, Spain, France and the Netherlands and drawn against Georgia and Norway in the past six months, urgently needs to end a six-match winless streak and build up steam ahead of the Euro 2024 final ..

However, the manager insisted he was far from despondent about the loss to Ronald Koemann’s star-studded side, despite the final score, after watching his men dominate the opening hour.

READ MORE: Steve Clarke’s club approach is the best way forward for Scotland

“I want us to be a team that can play different systems, play different ways and be confident in whatever way we decide to take the field,” he said. “Normally against a Pot One team we would sit a little deeper and wait for our moments to arrive. We decided we were going to use a press and it worked quite well for us.

“We took them on, we went toe to toe with them. If we are clinical at the right times and put ourselves ahead or level, it changes the whole game and can change the whole atmosphere of the night.

“Listen, there was a lot of positive to take from the match. During the debriefing we spent as much, if not more, time talking about the positives than we did about the ending. Towards the end we saw one or two things we could improve on. And hopefully in the future, if we find ourselves in those types of scenarios, we will know better how to manage a match like this.”

Leave a Comment