Oliver Burke could be set for his big Scotland break after Steven Fletcher’s injury ruled him out of the squad.
The Scots face Kazakhstan and San Marino in long-distance away matches. The two games mark the start of Scotland’s Euro 2020 qualification campaign. Of course, they’ve already secured a safety net in the form of winning their Nations League group, which guarantees an alternative route to Euro 2020 via two playoffs.
But, regardless, the Scots will be looking for a strong start. And it’s looking likely that Burke could be given the nod against Kazakhstan in the first match next Thursday.
That’s because Fletcher picked up an apparent injury that he’s “managing” according to Scotland assistant manager James McFadden. Fletcher then appeared and scored in Sheffield’s 2-0 win at Bolton last night.
And looking through the squad, it’s difficult to see who’ll start up front ahead of Burke.
Oli McBurnie, Marc McNulty, and Johnny Russell are the three natural strikers in the squad. But none have been in the form that Burke has been on at Celtic.
The on-loan West Bromwich Albion star has scored four goals for the Hoops, but has wowed many with his electric pace and athleticism.
Celtic’s current number one striker?
He currently seems to be Celtic’s number one striker, and has started the last three matches under Neil Lennon. Whether you agree or not, it’s difficult to argue that he’s viewed otherwise by the coaching staff.
Of course, it all depends on where the Scotland set-up see Burke playing. After all, he is a natural right-winger, and it’s only down to Brendan Rodgers that he’s been playing as a striker over the last couple of months.
If Alex McLeish believes his best position is down the right, then that could pose a problem for Burke. James Forrest currently occupies that spot, and Burke you would imagine would be back-up.
Forrest also fired home a hat-trick against Israel in Scotland’s last match. It’s highly unlikely that McLeish drops him at this moment in time.
So if Scotland view Burke as a striker, nobody should be selected ahead of him. Therefore, he could be set for a big Scotland renaissance in Kazakhstan.
Even if he isn’t, he can still be chuffed that he’s back in these squads once again. Here’s hoping he can make the most of it and shoot Scotland to away-day success.