Ryan Porteous is one of a clutch of new faces in Scot Gemmill’s Scotland Under-21 squad.
He is, however, blessed with maturity beyond his tender years and the recent Under-19 skipper turned in a commanding performance against a physical Togo team in the opening 1-1 draw of the Toulon tournament.
Ryan, how are you enjoying your first trip away with Scotland’s Under-21s?
It’s been great. I was really surprised to get the call and initially found out through social media. It’s been a great experience so far. It’s a fresh group – which is a blend of the Under-17s, Under-19s and a few existing Under-21s – but we’ve all bonded pretty quickly. The likes of Daniel Harvie – who I’m sharing a room with – and Anthony Ralston have helped me settle in.
Now the dust has settled, how do you reflect on the draw with Togo?
I think one of the best things about coming to a tournament like this is that you’re taken out of your comfort zone. You go up against teams that you’re not used to playing, which is great. They were very fit and gave us no peace, so it was tough at times, but that’s the kind of test I enjoy. Looking back, we had almost all of the ball against Togo and created a lot of chances but we didn’t make the most of it. We lost a sloppy goal and that cost us the win but there were plenty of positives to take into the game against France.
What do you expect against the French?
I think it will be a completely different kind of game. You would expect France to have the bulk of possession, so we might have to be patient. I do think, though, that we should be looking to take the game to them and hopefully get the three points. You can’t look at the name of the team you’re playing and let it faze you. You can only play the game in front of you.
It emerged this week that you’re going to be mentored by a Scottish sporting icon. Tell us a bit about that.
I’ve been taken on by a sports management company called 77 Sports Management, set up and run by Andy Murray. It’s about a development process that will look to build us up on and off the pitch. There’s a performance element to it, so there’s no better role model and mentor for me as far as I’m concerned. It’s an added bonus that he’s a Hibs supporter as well! Andy Murray has achieved at the very highest level within his sport and inspired millions. So I think it’s testament to the kind of guy he is that now he wants to put time and energy in to helping young athletes across a range of sports. Having said that, I’m more of a golf man. So maybe I should have picked up the phone to Rory McIlroy…
Ross Doohan (Celtic)
Robby McCrorie (Rangers)
Daniel Harvie (Aberdeen)
Jason Kerr (St Johnstone)
Chris Hamilton (Heart of Midlothian)
Ryan Porteous (Hibernian)
Anthony Ralston (Celtic)
Greg Taylor (Kilmarnock)
Iain Wilson (Kilmarnock)
Liam Burt (Rangers)
Allan Campbell (Motherwell)
Billy Gilmour (Chelsea)
Fraser Hornby (Everton)
Glenn Middleton (Rangers)
Harvey St Clair (Chelsea)
Elliot Watt (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
Oliver Burke (West Bromwich Albion)
Michael Johnston (Celtic)
Craig Wighton (Dundee)
Scott Wright (Aberdeen)
Group A: China, England, Mexico, Qatar
Group B: France, Scotland, South Korea, Togo
Group C: Canada, Japan, Portugal, Turkey
Scotland 1 Togo 1, Stade de Lattre, Aubagne
Scotland v France, Wednesday 30 May, kick-off 6.30pm (UK time), Stade D’Honneur, Salon (Watch via Facebook Live – Free Sports UK)
Scotland v South Korea, Saturday 2 June, kick-off 2pm (UK time), Stade Parsemain, Fos-Sur-Mer (Live on Free Sports UK)
*Schedule subject to change depending on broadcaster's preferences.
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