Scotland Under-19 goalkeeper Kieran Wright is convinced he and his team-mates can shake off their opening Elite Round defeat to Germany ahead of today’s meeting duel with the Dutch.
Wright was singled out by coach Donald Park for a string of impressive saves as a talented German side ran out 3-0 winners.
And the Rangers shot-stopper – currently on loan at Albion Rovers – agrees with Park that a few tweaks could make all the difference.
Looking back, how do you reflect on the game against Germany?
It was a good experience for us to go up against players of their calibre – who are amongst the best in the world. I was a bit busier than I would have liked but that’s probably to be expected against a team at their level. I thought our back four did really well considering how good the strikers were. I agree with Donald that, for all Germany threatened, their goals were avoidable from our point of view. The first goal was soft and the other two were unlucky.
What can you learn from that going into the game against Netherlands?
I think it’s important that we don’t focus too much on the name of the team we’re playing and that we do our best to play our own game. We’re in a tough group but we came into this competition on the back of good results against Austria and Denmark, which filled us with confidence. We maybe do need to keep the ball a bit better in the middle third but we have the quality in the team to do that.
Are you enjoying the Elite Round experience?
I am. I think it’s really important for young players to experience this – with games against high-level opposition coming thick and fast. It teaches you about tournament football, about how you have to concentrate and make sure your recovery is spot on. You have to stay on your toes. I was lucky enough to experience the Elite Round with the Under-17s and this is obviously a step up.
You’re only 17 but have already amassed plenty of first-team experience out on loan at Gala Fairydean and now Albion Rovers. Has that helped bring you on?
The loan spells are the best things that could have happened to me. I’d say that to any young player weighing up whether to go out and get games or not. It helps to play against men in games that matter. It’s just different for a whole lot of reasons. I’m maybe young to have done it but it’s something the coaches at Rangers were really keen for me to do as well so I have to thank them for being so supportive. Colin Stewart said it would be the best thing for me. You learn on the job. Gala were great with me last year and it’s been the same with Rovers. I train full-time with Rangers through the week and two nights with Rovers. So I feel like I’m being pushed.
What did the senior staff at Rangers have to say about your decision to go out on loan?
Graeme Murty was very positive about it and has been really good with me in general, as he has with the rest of the young players. The same applies to Craig Mulholland, who is actually out here with us in Germany as the Scottish FA delegate.
Finally, what’s the target for today’s game?
We’ll give it everything to try and get the win. That’s all anyone can ask of us.
European Under-19 Championship Elite Round
Elite Round group winners will go on to play in the finals this summer in Finland.
Scotland 0 Germany 3, Wednesday 21 March, kick-off 6pm (local time), Am Bruchbaum, Lippstadt.
Scotland 2, Netherlands 0, Saturday 24 March, kick-off 5pm (local time), Stadion Grosse Wiese, Arnsberg.
Scotland v Norway, Tuesday 27 March, kick-off 6pm (local time), Am Bruchbaum, Lippstadt.
Aidan McAdams (Rangers)
Kieran Wright (Rangers*)
Aidan Wilson (Rangers*)
Daniel Church (Celtic)
Matthew Shiels (Rangers)
Robbie Deas (Celtic)
Ryan Porteous (Hibernian)
Stephen Welsh (Celtic)
Wallace Duffy (Celtic)
Charlie Gilmour (Arsenal)
Elliot Watt (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
Jamie Barjonas (Rangers)
Jonny Mitchell (Falkirk) PS
Kerr McInroy (Celtic)
Lewis Ferguson (Hamilton Academical)
Fraser Hornby (Everton)
Fraser Murray (Hibernian)
Glenn Middleton (Rangers)
Jack Aitchison (Celtic)
Zak Rudden (Rangers) PS
*On loan to Albion Rovers
**On loan to Dumbarton
PS - denotes Performance School player