John McGinn identifies Celtic's David Turnbull as his Scotland replacement

By David Walton

August 29, 2021

Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn has namechecked Celtic man David Turnbull as his potential Scotland replacement for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers next month.

£50m-rated McGinn [The Athletic] unfortunately tested positive for Covid-19 earlier in the week. This ruled him out of Aston Villa’s 1-1 draw against Brentford yesterday.

The positive case also means that he’ll be unavailable to join up with Steve Clarke’s Scotland next week. This will involve crucial games against Denmark, Moldova, and Austria respectively.

This leaves Clarke with a major decision to make. But McGinn has stated that Turnbull can’t simply slot in and make an impact of his own in his absence.

As quoted by the Daily Record, McGinn said: “All the Scotland boys are close so it’s been difficult keeping this quiet and not telling them I won’t be playing. That’s been strange but I’ll be the same as everyone else on Wednesday – I’ll be a Scotland fan.

“I know we’re capable of going there and getting a result against Denmark. And even though I’m missing, we’ve got strength in depth in several areas now with Scotland. Even with me out, Turnbull has been absolutely flying so he could just slot in.

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“Kenny McLean is back fit so there are players there more than capable of getting us three points. I think if we go to Denmark and play the way we can, we can get a result. I think we’re due a big result.”

John McGinn spot on; long overdue Scotland opportunity awaits for David Turnbull

This isn’t Turnbull’s first call-up. He was part of the Scotland squad selected to compete at Euro 2020 in the summer. Amazingly, however, he didn’t play a single minute on any of the games against the Czech Republic, England, or Croatia respectively.

When you look at the squad selected for next month’s games, nobody should be in ahead of Turnbull. Callum McGregor’s place is secured regardless, but the likes of Kenny McLean and Lewis Ferguson just aren’t operating at Turnbull’s level.

With Stuart Armstrong having also withdrawn from the Scotland squad, there’s no alternative. Even if Clarke didn’t want to select Turnbull, you can’t justify any other midfielder’s inclusion over him.

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After a slow start this season, Turnbull is in sensational form. The Celtic midfielder has five goals and one assist to his name in 10 appearances. That’s the stats he holds heading into today’s Glasgow derby at Ibrox.

Another starring performance this afternoon and his spot in the Scotland starting XI will surely be cemented. Turnbull’s one and only appearance for his country came back in June in a friendly against the Netherlands. He’s yet to feature in a competitive match.

But it looks as though his chance to shine is coming. Let’s hope Clarke finally sees the light and does the right thing.

In other news, Why Edouard was dropped for Alkmaar; could return to Celtic XI today