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Aberdeen teenager Lewis Ferguson considered by Steve Clarke for maiden Scotland call-up

Aberdeen midfielder Lewis Ferguson.
Aberdeen midfielder Lewis Ferguson.

Scotland manager Steve Clarke revealed Aberdeen midfielder Lewis Ferguson came under consideration for his first squad selection.

Ferguson enjoyed a breakthrough campaign with the Dons after joining from Hamilton Accies and is already an under-21 international.

Aberdeen have three representatives in the squad to face Belgium and Cyprus, with Scott McKenna, Graeme Shinnie and Mikey Devlin all involved.

Clarke spoke to Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes on Monday night and Ferguson was discussed, although the new national team coach is keen not to push the youngster on too soon.

He said: “I spoke to Derek McInnes on Monday night and Lewis came up in conversation. He’s definitely one for the future. You have to be careful with the young ones – David Turnbull at Motherwell as well who’s had a fantastic season – that you don’t push them too  far too early.

“We’re not too bad for midfielders and if you add one or two that are missing from selection, we’re strong in that area of the pitch.”

Departing Dons captain Shinnie, who heads for English Championship side Derby County this summer, made the 27-man squad despite a late-season battle with injury.

Scott McKenna and Graeme Shinnie are both in the squad.

Shinnie suffered ankle ligament damage – ironically during the Dons last game against Clarke’s Killie at Rugby Park – and had appeared set to miss the rest of the season.

He had also feared for his own international future after Scotland endured a torrid night in Kazakhstan in March.

Clarke said: “He’s had a great season with Aberdeen and got a fantastic move to Derby County. He’ll be disappointed not to be a Premier League player but it’s still a big move for him.

“He’s one I’ve had a conversation with and he’s raring to go. I think he said ‘I just love playing for my country.’”

Plenty of injuries have affected Clarke’s plans, with Ryan Jack, David Bates, Barry Douglas, Kieran Tierney and Liam Cooper out injured, while Steven Fletcher wants respite after a long season at Sheffield United. John Fleck, who earned promotion to the Premier League with Sheffield United, is getting married this summer while Barry Bannan was not considered for selection.

New Scotland manager Steve Clarke.

Kilmarnock have four representatives in the squad, with Stephen O’Donnell and Stuart Findlay joined by Greg Taylor and Eamonn Brophy. There are also recalls for David Marshall and Tom Cairney.

Clarke added: “There were some good surprises.. Tom Cairney for one. I phoned Tom up and he immediately said ‘Yeah, I’m coming. When’s the camp?’

“It was just ‘Great to hear from you.’ We had a general chat about his season at Fulham and he indicated he would be delighted to be involved in this squad. So he made it, he is in.

“Although John McLaughlin is a good age and had a good season for Sunderland, he’s not got a lot of caps. David Marshall’s has the experience and brings caps to the group.”

Clarke also confirmed his backroom staff, with Alex Dyer joining as his assistant from Kilmarnock until after Euro 2020 and Steven Reid, the former Republic of Ireland, West Brom and Blackburn midfielder, part of the coaching team.

David Marshall returns to the squad.

Stevie Woods will continue as goalkeeping coach, however due to a family holiday leading up to the Cyprus game, Billy Thomson will deputise.

Clarke said: “For the first camp I felt it was better for me, if I wanted to give my best on the back of a tough arduous season, was to have people around me who know me and make me tick. It makes it easier for me to put on training sessions and hopefully I can put on sessions the players enjoy.

“If the players enjoy working with us, they might phone their mates and say ‘it’s not bad here now’ and you might get a few more back. It’s a really important week and if we can make it enjoyable, with good information for the players, they can phone or WhatsApp their mates and get a few more involved.”

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