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Lawrence Shankland gets strong Scotland defence as critics shot down

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Lawrence Shankland has been strongly defended against claims he is not an “international level” striker.

The Hearts striker went from a Scotland hopeful to someone that was guaranteed a place on the flight to Germany thanks to his club form over the past two seasons since moving to Tynecastle. But there remains a section of followers of the national team who doubt his credentials as a starting number nine in Steve Clarke’s side.




Shankland led the line in both of the Euro 2024 warm-up matches against with Gibraltar and Finland and with space at a premium against packed and deep defences, neither game was easy for him. But he eventually got his goal against the Finnish and Clarke now has the decision over whether to stick with him or go with Che Adams for Friday’s opener against Germany.

Gordon Strachan feels the accusation of not being ‘international level’ is unfair on the 28-year-old. He insists Shankland can indeed cut it against many teams on that stage.

The former national team boss told Prime Casino: “What is international level? Hungary and Switzerland, what level do most of their players play at? Where do most of those guys play and for what clubs? There are a couple if that in each team who play at the top level. Granit Xhaka is one of them. Dominik Szoboszlai is another, but the rest? Where are they from? Are the clubs that most of these players play for as good as Celtic and Rangers? Shankland scores goals against Celtic and Rangers, so I think it’s unfair when people say that a player can’t play at an international level.

“If you’re talking about the biggest and the best nations, the nations with the best players, your Brazil’s, then I think you can talk about international level. There are grades to international levels, which is shown by how international teams are grouped in the Nations League. If you’re talking about the top grade, then maybe some people have a point. Would Shankland play for Brazil? Probably not, but if you’re talking about the grades below that, then, yes, he’s absolutely ready to play at an international level.

“He’s coming into his prime: I like Shankland as a player. I think he’s intelligent. That intelligence has helped him as he’s got older. He’s twenty-eight, so coming into his prime. His body shapes become stronger; he has upper body strength. He uses his body well and he can work with midfield players in terms of his link up play and movement.

“He’s improved immensely over the last four years. He understands what he’s good at and what he’s no good at. He finishes all sorts of goals: right foot, left foot. He can head the ball as we saw against Finland.”

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