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No extra motivation needed for Kenny McLean to help get Scotland to World Cup

Scotland's Kenny McLean comes on for Billy Gilmour during the friendly against Poland
Scotland's Kenny McLean comes on for Billy Gilmour during the friendly against Poland

Scotland midfielder Kenny McLean insists he needs no extra motivation to reach the World Cup after missing Euro 2020.

The former Aberdeen man sat out the Euros last year through injury, along with former Dons team-mate Ryan Jack as Scotland played their first major tournament in 23 years.

However McLean is back in the fold and is a regular again at Norwich City, who have struggled in the English Premier League this season.

It was not how he wanted to spend last summer but for McLean, getting Scotland to a World Cup is enough of a carrot.

“It was obviously a disappointment,” he said. “I would have loved to have been there and I envied the lads who were there playing for Scotland.

“But I don’t think I need any more motivation to go to the World Cup. It’s the World Cup – it speaks for itself.

Kenny McLean, left, during Scotland training
Kenny McLean, left, during Scotland training

“The disappointment of missing out on the Euros will always be there, but when going to a World Cup is at stake, so you don’t need too much extra motivation.

“Everybody is desperate to get to it, not just me. We are going to do all we can to be there.”

McLean did get one stand-out moment, but it was watching Scotland rather than playing for them.

He was working as a TV pundit for the game against England at Wembley when his international team-mates spotted him.

“That was a special moment,” he said. “All the lads knew how despondent I was not to be there in a playing sense. They all came over and I just wished them all the best for the game.

“When we meet up with Scotland, everybody talks about the club-like togetherness we’ve got in the camp and it’s true. Everybody is tight and it’s a great group of lads. I think that has played a huge part in taking us to where we are just now.

“Obviously, we have got loads of quality and absolutely top players but you need that togetherness and the group that we’ve got ids brilliant just now. The manager has built that up with everybody and he has been pretty consistent with the squads that he’s picked.

“The lads are producing. We are on a good run now and we have to continue with it.”

Scotland’s Billy Gilmour takes a corner against Denmark at Hampden

McLean has also had a front-row seat to the development of Billy Gilmour.

The Chelsea midfielder, who is on loan at Norwich this season, has been an international mainstay since breaking into the senior squad ahead of the Euros.

“You don’t have to play with him to know how good he is,” added McLean. “Everybody can see the quality and the ability he has got. It doesn’t take somebody who plays with him every day to see that. He has got all the ability in the world.

“Obviously we are in a difficult position at Norwich, but his quality is undoubted and he is getting better and better for Scotland.

“He has nailed that place down for himself in the middle of the park and is only going to get better because he is still young and is still learning the game. He is going to be right at the top for a long time.”

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