Wales and Scotland have confirmed their squads for Euro 2020 this summer and we have analysed the strengths and weaknesses of both heading into the finals.
Both teams will have realistic aims of getting out of their groups, with Wales hoping to repeat their heroics of five years ago when they reached the semi-finals of Euro 2016, while Scotland, at their first major men’s tournament in 23 years, will be looking to advance through to the knockout stages for the very first time.
Questions Over Wales’ Big Names
The core of Wales’ squad from Euro 2016 remains an integral part of interim boss Robert Page’s plans this summer, although question marks about whether the majority of those players are past their best appear to be legitimate.
Captain Gareth Bale is perhaps the prime example of that, with the Real Madrid forward’s club career appearing to be in limbo following an underwhelming season on loan at former club Tottenham.
Bale does usually save his best performances for Wales, and he is priced at
50/1 to finish as the top scorer at this summer’s finals, although it is nearly two years since the 31-year-old last scored a goal for his country.
Midfielders Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen were both named in the team of the tournament at Euro 2016, but fitness issues have left both players short of their best over recent times.
Juventus ace Ramsey started just 13 Serie A matches for his club this season, while he has not figured for Wales since October, while Stoke star Allen has not played at all since injuring his calf and hamstring during the last international break in March.
Other experienced players such as goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey and defender Chris Gunter – who won his 100th cap for Wales earlier this year – have also been short of game-time at club level, with a lack of form and minutes perhaps being the main concern for Page heading into the finals.
Shock Call for Unproven Talent
The shock name included in Wales’ squad for the finals was that of uncapped Cardiff midfielder Rubin Colwill, who has been named in the 26-man party ahead of the likes of Tom Lawrence and Rabbi Matondo.
The 19-year-old only made his senior debut at club level in February, but Page has been impressed by what he’s seen, labelling the teenager a “breath of fresh air” since he joined up with the squad.
Colwill is the only uncapped player included by Page and it seems unlikely he will feature too often, with Wales due to take on Switzerland, Turkey and Italy in Group A.
Uncapped Trio Could Have Big Roles for Scotland
Scotland boss Steve Clarke has named three uncapped players in his squad for the country’s first major tournament in senior men’s football since the 1998 World Cup, with Chelsea’s Billy Gilmour, David Turnbull of Celtic and Rangers’ Nathan Patterson all being named.
The trio’s inclusion has largely been met with positivity, with midfielder Gilmour having long been touted for senior international honours, despite only featuring 11 times for newly crowned European champions Chelsea this season.
Fellow midfielder Turnbull has also caught the eye despite playing in a struggling Celtic side, with his heroics not only earning him the club’s player of the year award, but he was also named PFA’s Young Player of the Year.
Right-back Patterson impressed during the second half of the season with Rangers, helping Steven Gerrard’s side to a first Scottish Premiership success in a decade, with the uncapped trio all looking well placed to play pivotal roles for Scotland at Euro 2020.
There certainly seems to be a feel-good factor surrounding Scotland ahead of the finals and they are priced at
5/4 to qualify from Group D, which also contains the Czech Republic, Croatia and old rivals England.
Premier League Quality Could Make the Difference
Scotland have been in the international doldrums for most of the 21st century, with so many of their players having struggled for game-time at the highest level, but that appears to be changing, with the core of Clarke’s squad featuring regularly at the top end of the Premier League.
Captain Andy Robertson epitomises that, with the left-back having been a mainstay of the Liverpool side that has tasted both European and domestic glory over recent seasons.
However, Robertson is not the only Scot flourishing south of the border, with Arsenal’s Kieran Tierney, Scott McTominay of Manchester United and Aston Villa’s John McGinn all catching the eye.
Scotland may have also now found a striker capable of scoring at the highest level, with Southampton frontman Che Adams, fresh from netting nine Premier League goals for his club this season, having declared his international allegiance to Clarke’s side earlier this year.
Adams scored his first international goal against the Faroe Islands in March and he could be the missing piece in the Scotland puzzle, although it is difficult to see the Tartan Army making it beyond the last 16 and they are priced at
2/1 to exit at that stage of the competition.
*All odds correct at time of writing