Oliver Burke cannot understand why anyone would question Scotland’s desire to test themselves against some of Europe’s top teams.
Scotland suffered a frustrating night in Malta on Sunday as they went down 1-0 to Italy in the second of two difficult post-season friendlies.
The challenge only gets harder on Saturday when Scotland take on Euro 2016 hosts France in Metz.
Some have questioned whether manager Gordon Strachan will be regretting taking on the matches after seeing Scotland struggle to make any impact going forward against the Italians.
But try telling that to 19-year-old Burke, who absorbed all of the experience of facing some of Europe’s top players.
The winger came on in the 71st minute on Sunday as Scotland pushed further up the park than they had done throughout the match and before they created their only chance, when Matt Ritchie shot wide.
The Nottingham Forest player said: “It’s all about the experience and testing ourselves, playing against the very best. What else do you want?
“You can only get better and learn. It’s what we take from the game and how much we want to put into it.
“It was a great experience. They are a tough team, a world-class team, but for me individually it was a massive experience. I really enjoyed it and I can only take the positives out of it.
“Even watching, you can learn a lot. It was a massive learning experience for me, still being young.”
The match was a step up for Burke, who has made 24 first-team appearances for Forest.
“It’s hard to see the difference but they are world-class players playing at the highest level,” he said.
“It was a learning curve and something I want to strive for, to play at the very top. By watching them and seeing what they do in certain situations, I can learn myself.
“Names don’t really get me. I don’t really get star-struck but playing against a top country like Italy is a great experience and I can only get better for it.
“We had to adjust a bit at times and defend more than usual. When I came on, I tried to get on the ball as much as I could but you could tell Italy were very well structured and organised.
“Maybe there was an imbalance at times between attacking and defending and not having much going forward but it’s something we can learn from as a team and playing against the best is only going to help.”
Burke was playing for Scotland under-19s in November last year and he admits there is a surreal nature about his elevation to the main squad. But he is determined to continue his progress rather than sit back and reflect.
“It’s not long since I’ve been with the under-19s,” he said.
“I have always been striving to play with the first team, but it’s definitely a pinch-yourself moment. But I feel like I have earned it.
“I can only be called up by what I do at my club and obviously I have proved myself playing for Nottingham Forest.”