Celtic youngster Stephen Welsh could make Scotland U21 debut
Celtic youngster Stephen Welsh is in line to make his Scotland under-21 debut in the next fortnight.
Welsh has been called up for the under-21s for only the second time in his career after a stunning season individually with Celtic. The centre-back had his big breakthrough campaign this season and managed to secure 21 appearances to his name [Transfermarkt].
However, a maiden Scotland under-21 appearance has continued to evade him. He was called up for the November squad to face Croatia and Greece respectively. However, manager Scott Gemmill refused to put his faith in the Hoops man.
That could change on June 2nd, however. Scotland will take on Northern Ireland in two friendly contests over the next 11 days. Both games will be played on Scottish soil, with Gemmill likely to mix things up.
After a full campaign in which he was given incredible exposure at Parkhead, he looks ready for his next international step.
Celtic man Stephen Welsh ready for the step-up to Scotland under-21s
To say Welsh isn’t ready for this level of football would be a failure to look at the bigger picture. He’s more than ready for it and he’s proven it over the course of the season.
We’re talking about a centre-back who’s been part of several big Glasgow derby matches. A player who has had his first taste of European football this season. And a player who will surely only go from strength to strength next season.
This opportunity is long overdue. It’s not as if we’re talking about senior international football. We can all agree that Welsh has plenty of development to go through before he’s ready for that. But the under-21s? He’ll more than boss it if given his debut against Northern Ireland.
It’s exactly the kind of platform Welsh needs before the under-21 European qualifiers begin in September. Scotland have fixtures against Turkey, Denmark, and Kazakhstan between September and October. He should be targeting consistent game-time in all of them.
Welsh could be one of the players that benefits most from Eddie Howe coming in. Howe is known for integrating youth and progressing their development levels. Whilst Neil Lennon and John Kennedy should be commended for putting some faith in him, we need Welsh to kick on further next season.
Hopefully, he can shine with Scotland under-21s and take another positive step in his fledgling career.