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Gunning for glory with the Tartan Army at Euro2024

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Should Gunn get the nod from Steve Clarke to start next Friday’s opening night challenge against hosts Germany, there will be no prouder parents in Munich’s Allianz Arena.

For Bryan the highlight of his six-cap Scotland career was being part of his country’s squad at Italia90.

Angus’ stellar displays during this qualifying campaign, after pledging allegiance to the land of his father, ensured he has already surpassed Bryan’s achievements on the international stage.

“He has a few more games to catch up with me for the club, but internationally he has flown past me,” said Gunn senior. “I am delighted he is a professional footballer. It is a great career to have. He has dealt with the highs and lows, and we are proud of him and we will both be looking forward to singing three ‘Flower of Scotlands’ in the group games, and hopefully a few more after that.

“I was involved from the late 1980s to 1994 and had two brilliant keepers in Jim Leighton and Andy Goram, so no complaints there, and like Angus has at present there is a great bond with the other keepers and they work hard and keep each other on their toes, and whoever goes out on the pitch you support them.

“That is what we were like. We had some great times. They’ve got a great opportunity to get through to the later stages of a tournament, which no Scottish team has ever previously done. For Angus and the rest of the lads to be part of that would be amazing.”

City’s current number one had to handle not only the pressure that comes with following a father who was among the best of his generation, but a switch from representing England up to under-21 level, and even a call up to the seniors.

The 28-year-old’s Scotland debut came in qualifying wins over Cyprus and, notably, Spain in March 2023, after some subtle overtures from club mates Grant Hanley and Kenny McLean.

“There were a lot of nerves (for that first call up). I didn’t know what to expect not being in that environment before,” he said. “It probably helped me that I had familiar faces around me in Kenny and Grant, and Stuart (Armstrong) and Che (Adams), when I was with them at Southampton.

“To be fair, all the lads welcomed me and I felt pretty comfortable from the first second. Credit to them for that. It couldn’t have started any better with the first two games (beating Cyprus 3-0 and Spain 2-0). When I got the nod to start the first game it was a great feeling, and I haven’t looked back.

“Obviously Grant and Kenny were always in my ear, but I had to play it cool until the right time. Even prior to a call from the manager I was making the decision in my head. My mind was made up before then, but it was good to hear his plans from the future.”

Angus Gunn represented England at under-21 level (Image: PA)

Gunn’s senior’s connections also proved invaluable, after his son had resisted previous overtures during Alex McLeish’s time in charge of the Scots.

“I took all the calls from the previous managers and told them it was not me, they needed to ask him,” he said. “I did take a call from Tony Spearing, an ex-team mate at Norwich who does some scouting for Steve Clarke, and he said, ‘What do you think?’ and I said, ‘Get Stevie to give him a call.’

“He made the call, they met up fairly quickly, and I think Angus was bursting to say yes but went and had a think and the next day he rang him back and said he wanted to be Scottish.  

“To go out and sing ‘Flower of Scotland’ was quite funny because his sister had sent him the words during the week and he replied, ‘I know the words off by heart’. A proud moment not only for me, but my wife and the rest of the family that he finally decided to be Scottish.”

Both Gunns sat down with the BBC’s Scottish Football podcast at Colney before the end of the domestic season, but the excitement from father and son was already starting to build ahead of a huge summer.

“There is massive excitement. It has been there ever since we confirmed our place and qualified. But from then when the draw was made, it raised the expectations more and more,” said Angus. “Not many people expected us to come through the group we did so comfortably. From our point of view that was a probably a good thing to be seen as an underdog.

“I suspect we are going to be seen as an underdog again. We are looking forward to the summer. There will be thousands of Scots going over to Germany and hopefully we can give them a good time. I think it will be the biggest game a lot of the lads have played in. From my point of view it is just concentrating on getting there in the best form I can be, and then when I am there I will enjoy it.”

Bryan Gunn was a legendary figure in a long Norwich City playing career (Image: PA)

“We are looking forward to it,” added Bryan. “When the draw was made Angus was on the bus to Bristol City and I was at home watching it in front of the television and just hoping it was a good draw. It couldn’t have been any better with the first team to be drawn out against the hosts in the Allianz Arena in Munich.

“We are all buzzing and looking forward to it. Angus’ sister left to go to Australia in January, and I said I’d see you next year. She said, ‘No, I will see you in June’, so her plan is to get to Germany. We are hoping to have a full clan of Gunns supporting Angus in the tournament.”

 

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