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Ryan Stevenson hopes Lamine Yamal story can inspire more Scots kids



Ryan Stevenson hopes Lamine Yamal story can inspire more Scots kids

Watching a 16-year-old kid who is still doing his school work give France their jotters at Euro 2024 should be a lesson to us all.

Lamine Yamal has been absolutely sensational in Germany and his goal that sent Le Bleus packing on Tuesday night had me picking my jaw off the floor. He’s another example of the old cliche that if you’re good enough then you’re old enough. And boy is the Barcelona wonderkid good. Frighteningly good.

Okay talents like Yamal don’t come around often and especially in Scotland but I’d love to see more managers back here take a punt on youngsters on a regular basis. We don’t see enough of it. It gets fans excited. And gives other young hopefuls proof that dreams really can come true if you work hard enough. Yamal is on a different level right enough. I reckon it would be tough for a 16-year-old to play against grown men at any level. But to do what he’s doing in Germany against the creme de la creme? It’s absolutely incredible.

The best bit is he doesn’t look fazed on that stage at all. I watched him in the last 16 win over Georgia and he was slaughtering one of the more established Spanish stars for not giving him the ball!

I took me back to getting my first start at 17 for St Johnstone against Hamilton – only I was so filled with fear about saying anything to my team mates I could barely get their name out.

Yamal is a shining light for youngsters coming through. I don’t think we have enough of that here with managers in the top flight often too worried about making top six or relegation to regularly put young players into the heat of battle.

In fact a stat released last month showed the Scottish Premiership lagging in 11th – even behind the English Premier League – across Europe’s top leagues for minutes played by players aged 21 or under last season.

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