Harvey St Clair is one of three newcomers to Scot Gemmill’s Scotland Under-21 squad, but the Chelsea winger already feels at home.
Capped at Under-17 and Under-19 level, St Clair joined Josh Donaldson and Robbie Muirhead in the squad for Friday’s European Championship qualifier in Andorra.
Left to regain fitness and form at his club after an extended spell on the sidelines, the 19-year-old is determined to make up for lost time and seize his chance to impress.
Harvey, how happy are you to be back in the Scotland set-up?
I’m really, really pleased to be back in the mix for Scotland. I always enjoyed joining up with the squads. It’s been a while since I was last involved, but in some respects it feels like I’ve never been away. I know Calvin Miller, Liam Burt and Ryan Hardie but everyone has made me feel really welcome. This is a good opportunity for me and I’m ready to take it.
You were born in London, so what led to your first involvement?
My Mum, Heather, is originally from Edinburgh and her Mum had the thickest Scottish accent! I know it’s made her proud. I remember going to a training camp when I was very young up in Scotland. I was at Lesser Hampden, in the shadow of Hampden. The sight of the stadium sticks out. I was lucky enough to get a few games for the Under-17s and Under-19s so, while I might be a new name for some people this week, I’ve been around for what feels like a long time now.
How has this season been for you at club level?
There’s always a lot of interest around the youth system at Chelsea, because it’s been very successful in terms of the number of good players they’ve produced. I’ve enjoyed this season and played a lot for the Under-23 team. We’ve made it to the semi-finals of the UEFA Youth League – the equivalent of the Champions League – and we got through to the semi-finals of the Checkatrade Trophy. That was a good experience as you’re exposed to teams from League One and League Two, playing against grown men for the first time for a few of the boys. I enjoyed playing in front of the bigger crowds, even if you have to try and block them out during the game. We have four league games left and I’ve love to win the Youth League.
There are a few familiar faces for Scottish fans at Stamford Bridge…
I played under Jody Morris for a while, who I know is pretty much an adopted Scot after spending a good while playing up here. I’ve trained a lot alongside Islam Feruz. Ruben Sammut, who has also played for the Scotland Under-21s, is captain of Chelsea’s Under-23s and has had a good season. Billy Gilmour is another that is making a great impression on the coaching staff. He’s scored a lot of goals and racked up the assists. It’s tough for a young player to break through at Chelsea, obviously, given the talent in the first-team squad but we get a top-class education.
What are your short-term targets for Scotland?
It would be great to play a part against Andorra and contribute meaningfully to the game. Beyond that, I’m only 19 so have a bit of time on my side at Under-21 level. It would also be an honour to be called up for the Toulon tournament in the summer.
Andorra v Scotland, Friday 23 March, kick-off 6pm (local time), Estadi Comunal, Andorra la Vella.
Josh Donaldson (Dundee United)
Ross Doohan (Celtic)
Ryan Fulton (Hamilton)
Jason Kerr (St Johnstone)
John Souttar (Heart of Midlothian)
Calvin Miller (Celtic)
Liam Smith (Heart of Midlothian*)
Greg Taylor (Kilmarnock)
Iain Wilson (Kilmarnock)
Liam Burt (Rangers****)
Allan Campbell (Motherwell)
Chris Cadden (Motherwell)
Greg Docherty (Rangers)
Kyle Magennis (St Mirren)
Stephen Mallan (Barnsley)
Lewis Morgan (Celtic***)
Harvey St Clair (Chelsea)
Eamonn Brophy (Kilmarnock)
Oliver Burke (West Bromwich Albion)
Ryan Hardie (Rangers**)
Robbie Muirhead (MK Dons)
Scott Wright (Aberdeen)
*On loan to St Mirren
**On loan to Livingston
***On loan to St Mirren
****On loan to Dumbarton