No Need For Scotland To Have Meltdown Over Jack Harper


Type into Google ‘Jack Harper’ and there are reams of glowing stories about a Scottish youth international making his way up the ladder at Real Madrid.

Today Ricky Sbragia left out the youngster for the next batch of Scotland under-19 internationals.

How dare the well respected coach leave out a boy, that most of us have only really heard of or read about!

Sbragia, who has coached at Manchester United, Bolton and managed at Sunderland, was good enough to explain the exclusion. Basically stating that although Harper was a very good, technically gifted player, his best assets come from playing a free-role and that Scotland’s under-19s didn’t need that type of player for these particular games.

This seems to have caused outrage amongst media and Scotland fans on Twitter.

People think that Ricky has been too quick to drop the nineteen year old and that he could walk into this Scotland set-up. That going for a ‘physical side with runners’ isn’t the best option for Scotland at this level.

Now how many of these commentators actually watch Scotland’s Under-19s? How many of them have seen the squads opposition? Also please remember that Sbragia could only name an 18 man pool not 23 or 25.

Take it on a few steps and look at Gordon Strachan’s senior squad. It’s again based around a team philosophy and work ethic. The traits of physicality and hard working are ones that Scotland use.

Just because a boy is playing at Real Madrid for their youth team doesn’t mean he should automatically be selected for every Scottish side. Listen the odds of him succeeding at the Bernabeu are stacked against him, especially in the free role he seems to favour. Letting him concentrate on RealĀ isn’t the worst thing in the world.

Now others have pointed out that Jack was born is Spain and that he could easily change allegiances.

True. But even if he was selected for these games Jack could still choose Spain further down the line. So should we just pick him for the competitive senior side that face Gibraltar on Sunday?

Of course not! If the boy takes the hump because he hasn’t been selected by one coach for a set of games, then do we really care if he plays for Spain instead of Scotland?

As long as there is dialogue between the SFA and Harper, I don’t see what the issue is.

We hired a very good coach to do a job. Let’s leave Ricky Sbragia to do that.

Hopefully in a few years time, Jack Harper is wearing a Scotland shirt and do wonderful things in it. But please don’t overhype him because you’ve seen him on your Football Manager game or because you have read about him playing for the Real youth team on a website.

Only judge him when he’s ready and you’ve seen him doing his stuff on a football park.

We constantly celebrate players before their time; Islam Feruz and John Fleck spring to mind. Let’s give Jack Harper time to show everyone what he can do.

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