‘Scottish Messi’ who wanted call-up shows Steve Clarke what he’s missing at Euro 2024

Scotland manager Steve Clarke might be ruing his decision not to include the player once hailed as the 'Scottish Messi' in his Euro 2024 squad, especially after the star's impressive double at the weekend.

Ryan Gauld, originally from Aberdeen, made a splash on the football scene when he signed his first professional deal with Dundee United in 2012. By the next year, he was being touted for moves to heavyweight clubs such as Manchester United during David Moyes' time in charge, and there was also talk of interest from Real Madrid, Roma, and Liverpool, all eyeing the then-teenage sensation.

Gauld, who was likened to Lionel Messi due to his playing style and stature, standing at just 5ft6, never secured a move to one of the game's giants. Instead, he transferred to Sporting CP in 2014, where he struggled for game time, making only two appearances amidst various loan spells at Vitoria de Setubal, Aves, Farense, and Hibs.

Now 28, Gauld has been showcasing his talents at Vancouver Whitecaps since 2021, clocking up 95 appearances and netting 32 goals including his latest two in the MLS clash against New England this past weekend. Despite the Whitecaps' 3-2 defeat away, Gauld had a significant impact, bagging a brace.

Yet, despite his standout performances in Vancouver over the last three years, the attacking midfielder remains overlooked by Scotland. Earlier in the year, Gauld expressed his aspirations, saying: "Every player has the ambition to play for their national team, no matter what point of the career they are at. That's one of the main goals."

The snubbed footballer expressed his feelings clearly, saying: "If I was to ever be called up I would be delighted but at the same time, it's not something I look for or expect. But obviously one of my dreams is to play for Scotland and to have that opportunity would be amazing."

In spite of his promising career development, Scotland's manager Clarke overlooked him for the Euro 2024 team, currently competing in Germany, choosing instead players like Callum McGregor and Stuart Armstrong, a decision that may come back to haunt him given Scotlands rocky start in the tournament.

Scotland's challenges in Euro 2024 escalated after a demoralising 5-1 defeat by Germany, compounded further when Ryan Porteous earned a direct red for his foul on Ilkay Gundogan. Bottom of Group A, Clarke's squad has yet to face Switzerland or Hungary.