Scotland gets a lot of stick for being somewhat of a talentless league at times. It does not have the financial power of the English Premier League or the crisp tiki-taka style employed throughout Spain. But Scotland has its fair share of decent players.
Here are 5 footballers who could become future world-class stars:
1. Ryan Gauld (Dundee United)
Ryan Gauld made his debut for a very strong Dundee United side at the age of just 16. And since then, he has been nicknamed “Baby Messi” because of his dazzling dribbling, lethal passing and eye for goal. Everton, Manchester United and even La Liga giants Real Madrid are said to be monitoring the 18-year-old, which says a lot about his talent. This kid is for real. You need to know his name because within the next few years he will be the footballer everyone is talking about. Also, he was recently named one of 100 most exciting talents in world soccer alongside Neymar, Paul Pogba and Mario Gotze.
2. Stevie May (St Johnstone)
Stevie May is head and shoulders above the rest of St Johnstone’s team. He has led from the front this season, scoring 27 goals in all competitions including an equalizer in the Europa League qualifying stages against Rosenborg to put the Saints through to the next round. His scoring consistency, even at just 21 years old, is ridiculous. When out on loan at Alloa from 2011 to 2012, he scored 19 goals in 22 games. During the following season, he went out on loan to Hamilton and scored 26 goals in 35 games. And then this season he netted an astounding 27 goals. May’s goal tally is made all the more impressive when you take into account that St Johnstone are a mid-table team at best in Scotland. There’s no doubt English Premier League sides will be sniffing around soon for his signature.
3. John McGinn (St. Mirren)
The St Mirren central-midfielder has been the shining star in what has been a gloomy season for the club. McGinn already has a great amount of experience under his belt despite only being 19 years old. He spent most of last season in the first team and has featured regularly for the Saints this year as well. Unlike a lot of young Scots we see coming through, he plays with a great deal of composure and calmness on the ball. Rather than rush a bad pass, he stops to look around and ensures his team will maintain possession. His great club performances earned him a place in the Scotland U21s, which can only help improve him as a player.
4. James Forrest (Celtic)
James Forrest exploded on to the scene a few years ago, making a hugely memorable debut against Motherwell in which he scored. Since then, he has became one of the club’s leading players and a prime example of how academy players can break through. Forrest has all the tools to be a world class winger: pace, skill, and confidence. Forrest has proved his ability on the European stage too, having faced the likes of Barcelona and Juventus. And he has proven that he can hang with the best of them. He has however suffered a series of injuries this season that has greatly limited his playing time, but when the 22-year-old is back fully fit, he will be a handful for anyone in the world. Numerous teams from England have shown an interest in the young winger. However it would take big bucks for Celtic manager Neil Lennon to part with the young winger.
5. Andrew Robertson (Dundee United)
Andrew Robertson has gone from being a semi-pro player to playing international soccer in less than a year. Before joining Dundee United in August 2013, Robertson was playing soccer part time with Queens Park. Since then a string of outstanding performances fast-tracked him into Gordon Strachan’s Scotland side, and he made his international debut against Poland in March. The 20-year-old has been a rock at left back for Dundee United this season and by the sounds of things they could struggle to hold onto him come the summer. He also picked up PFA Young Player of the Year Award in Scotland ahead of his aforementioned teammate Ryan Gauld, so you know his performances have been quality.