The Football League home internationals #1: Scotland
With another international break swiftly arriving on the horizon, The Seventy Two is hosting its own make-believe mini-tournament over the next seven days. Bring back the home internationals!
If England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland could only call upon Football League players for their next international squad, how would the teams look?
First up, Danny Cole looks at how Scotland would fare with just the Championship, League One and League Two to raid for resources.
Many thanks to Danny for this selection. You can read his views every Friday at The Celtic blog under the pen name Brucehillbhoy.
Is there anyone at your club who you feel Danny has unfairly overlooked?
Scotland’s Football League XI
Goalkeeper – David Marshall (Cardiff)
Most famously known for his wonderful 90 minutes in the Nou Camp against Barcelona whilst at Celtic. However, Marshall subsequently lost his place to Artur Boruc and moved to Cardiff where he’s been on terrific form. His penalty saves in the Championship Play-off semi-final against Leicester saw him become a cult figure in the blue corner of Wales.
Right Back – Paul Quinn (Cardiff)
The ex-Motherwell man was tipped for big things a few years back when first breaking through into the ‘Well first team. Quinn’s career stagnated slightly, then he moved to Cardiff in 2009 and has settled well into the Championship earning rave reviews and narrowly missing out on promotion in his first full season.
Centre Back – Stephen McManus (Middlesbrough)
The former Celtic captain joined up with ex-boss Gordon Strachan in January 2010, initially on loan, and good form persuaded the Boro fans that McManus would be well worth a permanent deal. Has struggled so far but has the determination and spirit to see Boro through their tough times and enable them to become a Championship force in the future.
Centre Back – Russell Anderson (Derby)
An excellent centre back, Anderson has unfortunately seen his career stumble since moving from Aberdeen to Sunderland in 2007 when Roy Keane saw fit to splash £1million on him. A terrific tackler and header of the ball, Anderson has been rock solid for Derby so far this season and will be key to any promotion charge they may have.
Left Back – Callum Davidson (Preston)
Known as an excellent penalty taker and striker of the ball, Davidson has silently progressed with what is a terrific career down south with Preston, as one of their longest serving players. A steady left-back who just gets on with his job and helps his winger – a manager’s delight.
Right Midfielder – Chris Burke (Cardiff)
The ex-Rangers winger has certainly found his level in the Championship. A dazzling, direct winger who just loves taking on full backs, getting to the byline and whipping in a cross for a towering striker to head home. A player the fans can relate to on the pitch, with the right amount of work he could very well be a Premier League player in the future
Central Midfielder – Barry Nicholson (Preston)
A player dogged by two horrific leg breaks in the past year, Nicholson has been unable to produce his usual defence-splitting passes and mazy dribbles into the box. The Preston man knows how to get into goalscoring areas while not on the ball. Providing he stays fully fit, Nicholson will be a huge hit in the Championship and a certain fan’s favourite at Preston.
Central Midfielder – Barry Robson (Boro)
The best Scot in the Championship, a combative, direct, determined and, overall, just a magnificent midfielder. Robson, a player the Celtic support would rather have kept, has shown the Boro fans that no matter their current form, he will be the most determined – along with his captain McManus – to change their fortunes. Barry Robson is a player any of the other 23 teams in the Championship would love to have in the middle of the park.
Left Midfielder – Robert Snodgrass (Leeds)
Snodgrass was a talent at Livingston. However, eyebrows were raised when he moved to Leeds. Wrongly so, in my opinion. A player who needed a move to unlock his full potential, Snodgrass was just as much a key figure in Leeds promotion charge last year as anyone else at Elland Road. In my view, Snodgrass will be plying his trade in the Premiership within three years. Watch him go.
Striker – Kris Boyd (Boro)
A goal machine. Nothing more. Nothing less. If you put the ball into the box, Kris Boyd will fire it home. Struggling for confidence currently but once he bangs in a few, along with the others on this list, Boro will soar up the Championship table and it wouldn’t be too surprising to see Kris Boyd being the division’s top scorer.
Striker – Jamie Mackie (QPR)
Cheated slightly here as Mackie is still technically English, but is expected to make his Scotland debut this Friday against the Czech Republic in Prague. A nippy striker who has already shown his eye for goal so far in this Championship season. QPR’s top scorer after joining from Plymouth, Mackie has shown it doesn’t take him long to settle and if he keeps up his impressive early season form, he could fire QPR to the promised land.