Confirmed: Celtic talent Stephen Welsh called up for must-win Scotland U21 games
Celtic youngster Stephen Welsh received another boost after being called up to the Scotland under-21 squad for their vital double-header against Belgium and Denmark respectively.
The call-up comes more than 2 weeks after the centre-back scooped up the Celtic Academy Player of the Year award. Welsh was also on the SFWA Young Player of the Year shortlist too.
Welsh has featured 24 times for the Hoops this season and has been a reliable back-up option for Ange Postecoglou when necessary [Transfermarkt]. And now, he can look ahead to a massive couple of games with the under 21s next month:
Welsh has featured in Scotland Under-21s’ last 8 fixtures and has now become a staple of Scott Gemmill’s young side.
His last 5 games for his country have seen him take up the captaincy armband too. A telling sign of the influence he has in the dressing room.
But he’s in for a tough slog next month with both games in the under-21 Euro qualifying section coming away from home. Scotland will travel to Belgium on June 5th before heading over to Denmark for a June 10th encounter.
Stephen Welsh will be determined to make an impression with Scotland U21s
Credit to Welsh for making himself a mainstay in Gemmill’s team. He hasn’t had much in the way of football in 2022 and indeed has only featured in one league game since the turn of the year. That he’s remained in the under-21 squad despite that is a big plus for him.
It’s been a rough campaign for the young Scots so far, however. They’ve only won 1 of their 6 group-stage matches and currently sit 4th in the 5-team group. A 2-0 home loss to Turkey was followed by a 2-2 draw in Kazakhstan during the last international break back in March.
Scotland currently sit 14 points behind table-toppers Belgium and 5 behind Denmark in second. They’ve also played a game more than the Danes. That’s what makes this final double-header all the more imperative. Scotland need 6 points from both games to have any chance of taking the playoff spot from Denmark.
It’s going to be a massively tough ask for Welsh and Scotland to haul themselves back into contention. But even so, it provides an opportunity for the Celtic defender to showcase his skills against some of the best youngsters in Europe.
We spoke earlier this week about how a loan move from Celtic Park is surely on the agenda this summer for the centre-back. And positive displays in next month’s double-header would certainly boost his stock.
Hopefully, he can make a positive impact on what are certain to be 2 real challenges.