With Scotland’s under-19 squad getting together for a trio of matches there seemed only one Scot to focus on in this week’s Scots Abroad feature.
Ricky Sbargia’s under-19 squad drew 2-2 in their opening match, next up is a game against Lithuania tomorrow before the final match with Norway on Sunday as they look to qualify for next summer’s finals.
Sbargia has players from clubs across Britain available to him, however, it is the one player playing plying his trade outside of these islands that really stands out – after all, there’s not many Scotland squad lists that mention Real Madrid.
Jack Harper is a name still unknown to many Scottish football fans, however, he is contracted to the biggest club in the world, he trains with some of the best young players on the planet and huge things are expected of him over the coming years – Madrid rate him so highly they gave him a five year deal to fend off rumoured interest from the English Premier League.
Harper, 18, was born in Spain and has lived there all his life, however, his accent is as Scottish as they come he says that wearing the dark blue of Scotland at Hampden would be a ‘dream come true’.
Excited to be back with the Scotland squad, playing the under 19 qualification round in Lithuania.
— Jack Harper (@Jackharper7) October 3, 2014
The youngster may have been brought up in Spain but with proud Scottish parents from Barrhead, he has only ever wanted to represent Scotland and this week he reiterated his international aspirations.
The youngster also spoke about playing under Fernando Morientes, rubbing shoulders with the Madrid superstars and his ambition to be playing alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale et al in a ‘year or two’.
As well as making the breakthrough into the Scotland senior squad, Harper is also aiming to reach the first team back in Madrid and he is certainly going about that in the right manner. He produced an outstanding performance for Madrid in the UEFA Youth League opener last month when he scored one goal, hit the bar with an overhead kick and set up Madrid’s other goal in their 2-0 win.
The attacking midfielder made his second appearance in the youth version of the Champions League against Ludogarets, helping his team to a 3-0 win and when he returns from international duty he will return to that stage with a double header against Liverpool coming up.
Harper was Madrid’s top scorer when playing at under-17 level and he certainly seems to have dealt well with the step up to under-19s. Dangerous in the air, mesmeric on the ground, with a determined, Scottish attitude and delightful Spanish technique, Jack Harper is certainly one to watch over the next few years.