Newly appointed Scotland manager Alex McLeish has confirmed that Scott McTominay is in the squad ahead of friendlies with Costa Rica and Hungary later this month.
The 21-year-old, who broke into the first team towards the end of last season, has made 11 starts this season and earned high praise for recent performances against Sevilla and Chelsea.
McTominay made the decision last weekend to represent Scotland – where his father is from – instead of England having never been capped before at any age bracket.
And McLeish, speaking on Friday, has revealed that the youngster would receive a place in his first Scotland squad since taking over for the second time.
“He will be in the squad. I don’t think that’s the world’s best kept secret at this particular moment,” he said.
“Scott was very receptive. I looked him in the eye and he gave me passion about playing for Scotland. I saw the passion and I really felt that we had nailed it that day.
“Of course he has to play a competitive game but if we can get him playing in the friendlies, he can see what it’s all about.
“We can hopefully have some good performances. Obviously winning is the big thing and then Scott can be a part of it.
“He’s had some great games with Jose Mourinho at Manchester United. He’s only 21, he’s not got all the answers – I’m 59, at my last count, and I’ve not got all the answers but hopefully he’ll get more right than wrong.”
McTominay has conceded the opportunity to play at a major tournament (Scotland have not qualified for one in the 21st century and do not look likely to do so anytime soon) in order to maximise the minutes he will receive on the pitch in the long run.
He has effectively chosen quantity over quality – a decision which, above all, reflects his own pure desire to simply play football as much as possible, to develop further as a player through greater time on the pitch, far away from the perennial toxic scrutiny that comes with playing for England.
A man with a larger ego would have enthusiastically taken on the chance to play for England. McTominay, on the other hand, has made a calculated call which will benefit him in the long run.