Stuart Armstrong has admitted that the impressive form of old Dundee United team-mate Ryan Gauld will help keep him on his toes as the battle to secure an attacking midfielder place in the Scotland squad intensifies ahead of Euro 2020.
Gauld has been a big hit with Farense on their return to the Portuguese top flight this season, scoring seven goals, one of which was voted the best in Primeira Liga for February.
🏴💫 Ryan Gauld wins February goal of the month over in the Portuguese top-flight for this moment of balletic brilliance.pic.twitter.com/Fygc0BB98v
— Alan Temple (@alanftemple) March 11, 2021
It wasn’t enough to earn ‘Mini Messi’ a call-up for the national team for the World Cup qualifiers that begin on Thursday night.
But he got a name-check from Steve Clarke and Southampton regular Armstrong knows that the competition to play for Scotland in the summer finals will be fierce, with the likes of Gauld and David Turnbull on the fringes of selection.
“It goes without saying,” said the 28-year-old. “Everyone knows the quality around the Scotland team and even the guys who aren’t here.
“Ultimately, you need to play well for your clubs.
“When you are here you need to impress, you need to perform and have a good impact on the squad.
“We have got strong squad depth, especially in the midfield areas.
“There are no illusions for the guys who are here. We are grateful to be here and will try to take our chance when it comes. The manager is well aware of the quality he cannot pick which must be a tough decision for him.”
Armstrong stressed that getting the World Cup campaign off to a flier against Austria, Israel and the Faroe Islands is the only focus in the Scotland camp this week, not the European Championships.
“The Euros is there for us in the summer but it is kind of on the back burner just now,” he said. “It is a new campaign, fresh challenges, fresh teams, apart from Israel.
“It is definitely a chance for us to get stronger as a team and put in good performances. Whenever we come away that is what we aim to do – take as many points as we can and just keep improving as a team. I think it has been quite promising over the last while.”