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Disappointment at no game time at Euro 2020 shows Declan Gallagher’s high level, insists Aberdeen boss Stephen Glass

Aberdeen signing Declan Gallagher in action for Scotland during the Euro 2020 play-off match against Israel.
Aberdeen signing Declan Gallagher in action for Scotland during the Euro 2020 play-off match against Israel.

When Declan Gallagher reported for duty at Aberdeen gutted not to have played at Euro 2020 it reinforced boss Stephen Glass’ belief he had signed a winner.

The 30-year-old was not content to be part of the first Scotland squad to compete at a major tournament in 23 years – he wanted to make an impact.

That the summer signing didn’t receive game time at Euro 2020 after being so pivotal in qualification for the tournament understandably left the centre-back disappointed.

Gallagher wasn’t happy to be just be part of the first squad in more than a generation to be at a major tournament

Being part of the Euro 2020 party wasn’t enough – he wanted to make his mark in it.

Glass believes it will be the same at club level.

The nine-times-capped defender won’t just be content at securing a big move to the Dons – he will be driven for success.

Glass said: “We have got a Scotland international player that is disappointed he didn’t add to his cap tally during the Euros.

“That shows the level of player we have brought in.

“He also performed for Motherwell until the last day of his contract, which we knew he would.

“That’s why we know what we are getting with Declan.”

Declan Gallagher (right) in action for Scotland during a friendly match between Scotland and Netherlands at Estadio Algarve.

A key role in Euro 2020 qualification

Gallagher agreed a two-year pre contract with Aberdeen at the end of last season.

However, he was still officially signed with the Steelmen during his time at Euro 2020 as part of the 26-man squad for Scotland’s first tournament since the 1998 World Cup.

The defender played a fundamental role in qualification having been a rock at the back in the Euro 2020 play-off final defeat of Serbia in Belgrade last November.

Having featured in friendlies against Netherlands (2-2 draw) and Luxembourg (1-0 win) in the build-up to Euro 2020, expectations were high Gallagher would add to his cap tally at the tournament.

However, he was one of three players left out of the 23 man match-day squad for the group games against Czech Republic (2-0 loss) and eventual beaten finalists England at Wembley (0-0 draw).

He did make the match-day squad to face Croatia and was an unused substitute in the 3-1 loss to the 2018 World Cup finalists.

https://twitter.com/declang31/status/1407791018410455048

Gallagher worth the wait for Glass

Following Scotland’s exit from the tournament, Gallagher had a week with his family before reporting to Cormack Park on June 29 when he officially became a Don.

The defender was the second acquisition by Glass in his summer rebuild following confirmation in March that Celtic skipper Scott Brown would sign on a two-year contract.

Gallagher agreed a pre-contract on May 7 yet it was another seven weeks before the defender finally met up with his new team-mates for pre-season training.

Glass insists he was worth the wait.

He said: “I was delighted to get Declan in.

“He was one that we wanted to add pretty quickly.

“Declan is the type of player we want in the place.”

John McGinn (L) and Declan Gallagher during a Scotland training session at Rockliffe Park for Euro 2020.

Mikey Devlin working back to fitness

Gallagher is set to make his competitive Aberdeen debut in the Uefa Europa Conference League second qualifying round clash with BK Hacken on Thursday July 22.

The former Motherwell skipper is one of only two fit senior centre-backs available for that tie along with fellow Scotland international Andy Considine.

Centre-back Mikey Devlin, also a Scotland international, is, however, edging closer to a return to fitness following a season of injury hell.

Glass has given Devlin a short-term contract extension until January to allow the defender time to prove his fitness.

Dogged by injury, Devlin managed only two substitute appearances last season, totaling just 56 minutes.

Devlin’s last appearance was as a second half substitute in a 1-1 draw at St Mirren on December 5.

Aberdeen’s Mikey Devlin in action against St Mirren last season.

He had pushed his way back into the team after recovering from a hamstring injury only to suffer an ankle ligament injury stretching to block a ball in training just days after featuring against St Mirren.

Glass said: “He (Devlin) is not back with us as a group.

β€œHe is almost back training as he is working with Stokey (Adam Stokes, Head of Medicine and Football Science) and Kirky (Graham Kirk – Head of Sport Science and Fitness).

β€œHe is doing his stuff towards getting integrated with the team.”

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