With their season over, Dundee United hitman Lawrence Shankland can do no more to boost his hopes of making the Scotland squad for Euro 2020.
Shankland is hopeful his exploits with United this term, in which he scored nine goals in 36 games, are enough to earn him a place in Steve Clarke’s 26-man pool – set to be announced tomorrow.
Lyndon Dykes, Che Adams and Ryan Fraser are stick-ons to make it into Clarke’s attacking options for the summer finals and, with another two, maybe three, places left to fill up top, Shanks has some fierce competition.
Hibs hitman Kevin Nisbet is in fine form, while Callum Paterson and Leigh Griffiths are also favourites of Clarke’s.
It looks a tall order for the 25-year-old to make the cut for games against England at Wembley and Croatia and the Czech Republic at Hampden next month.
However, Shankland remains hopeful he’s done enough to impress the national team boss and fulfil his dream of turning out for his country at a major finals.
‘I have given myself the best possible shot. I know I’ve not done myself’
“Of course, I’d love to be involved, as would everybody,” he said.
“Since missing out on the last camp, I have worked hard to try to do what I was asked to improve on.
“I have given myself the best possible shot. I know I’ve not done myself.
“If I do miss out then I have missed out trying. Whatever happens I can’t get too down about it.
“If I’m not selected then I have to just prepare for next season and whoever goes I will wish them all the best.
“Fingers crossed I’ve done enough and I’ll be involved.”
Anxious Shanks as he awaits Clarke call
Shankland now faces a nervous wait, with the players likely to discover their fate only a short time before the squad is announced to the world.
After some positive talks with Clarke following his missing out on the last squad for World Cup qualifiers against Austria, Israel and the Faroe Islands in March, Shankland has been working hard on his game.
“The gaffer gave me his opinion on what he felt I could improve on,” he added.
“I won’t go too into depth, I know myself and will keep it between the two of us.
“I have tried to do everything he has asked of me. If it pays off, then it pays off, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.
“I haven’t had an indication or a hint or anything like that.
“I think he will probably have his phone off as he will be scared to let it slip to anyone.
“We usually get told just before it is released – you get a text to tell you if you are involved or not.
“I’m sure that will be the case again, it will probably only be 30 seconds before the official announcement as they won’t want anyone telling anyone else.
“As a player you need to be optimistic and think of the positives and believe you’re going to be involved.
“It isn’t the end of the world if you aren’t involved and there will be other opportunities again in the future to be included.
“You just have to work hard, get the head down and go again.
“Of course I would love to be there and if I am I would be delighted.”
A sleepless night lies in store regardless with baby Eva
With baby daughter Eva potentially keeping he and partner Nicole up, it could be a sleepless night on two counts for the United star.
Shankland continued: “My daughter is a good wee sleeper but knowing my luck she will be up all night and make it ten times longer.
“It’s such a big moment for the country and the national team so there will be a lot of talk going into the announcement.
“I will see if I make the squad, if I miss out then I miss out, but I would be gutted.
“If I’m not involved I will be sitting watching it like everyone else and cheering the boys on.
“Hopefully they can do the nation proud but hopefully I can be involved.”
Shankland used to it now as he prepares for another summer of transfer speculation
As for his future at club level, Shankland is keeping his cards close to his chest about where he’ll be next season.
With a year left to run on his deal at Tannadice, clubs both sides of the border have been circling.
However, all the striker is trying to do is focus on his football and let business take care of itself.
“I have a year left on my contract so unless something happens which is out of my hands then I will be a Dundee United player,” he said.
Lawrence The Leader 💪
Lawrence Shankland captains Dundee United for the first time this afternoon 🔶 pic.twitter.com/pKRTyEQEtS
— Dundee United FC (@dundeeunitedfc) May 16, 2021
“We don’t have that long off before we are back in again. We have four-week break which might seem long to some people but it isn’t to us.
“We have to rest up but make sure we are ready to go again in pre-season.
“It is quite common for me to be linked with other clubs and you get used to all the speculation.
“Until someone from Dundee United comes to me and tells me what’s happening then I will just be ready for training.”