International Challenge Match
Italy vs Scotland
Sunday 29th May 2016, 8.45pm kick-off (local time)
Ta’Qali Stadium, Malta

A first international cap for Stephen Kingsley would top-off an incredible six months for the Swansea City defender.

So far in 2016 the left-back has won at the Emirates against Arsenal and featured in three other Premier League games, and Kingsley is hoping that that experience holds him in good stead in the upcoming friendlies against Italy and France.  

Speaking to the Scottish FA website, he said: “To be part of the Scotland squad is brilliant, but the fact that the games are against two of the best teams in the world adds a bit extra. The games I’ve played in the Premier League have been against very good opposition, so hopefully that means I’ll be ready if I feature.

“It’s been an amazing few months for me personally, so to make my debut for Scotland would would really top it off.” 

Kingsley’s call-up to the national team marks the end of a remarkable season for the young Scottish defender. Following a loan-spell at Crewe Alexandra in League One in the first half of the season, the defender impressed new manager Francesco Guidolin and has since become a regular of the first-team squad.  

He explained: “The first six months of the season were pretty difficult. The team weren’t doing particularly great and I was struggling to get game-time.

“The loan spell was really good for me. It gave me more game-time and match fitness, and by the turn of the year things started kicking in. The new manager at Swansea came in in January, and I worked as hard as I could to impress him in training and then a few appearances for the first-team.”

Kingsley was a late addition to the squad for the matches, where he is joined by other Scotland Under-21 internationals such as John McGinn, Jack Hamilton, Barrie McKay and Callum Paterson.

Having so many teammates from Ricky Sbragia’s team has eased the transition into the A-Squad for the Swansea City defender, who takes encouragement from Gordon Strachan’s willingness to give young players a chance.   

“So far, it’s been very good and a great experience” Kingsley explained. 

“It’s helped that I know a few of the younger boys from my time with the under-21s, so I’m really looking forward to the next few days and the games coming up.

“As a young player, it is great to know that he’s willing to give you a chance. It’s really encouraging to know that if you work hard, and if you show what you can do with your club, then the opportunities are there within the international set-up.”