For years now I have heard from older generations ‘I remember when lots of Scots used to play down in England’. It was true Dalglish, Law, Bremner, Souness, Crerand, Jordan & the like played for the top sides down south. It is also true to say that in the last 15 years the number of Scots playing well in England’s top flight has dramatically dropped but then so has the number of England players.
But for Scotland it looks like the tide has changed.
Starting with our Nations number 1. Craig Gordon is the English Premier League’s most expensive keeper. He returned from a broken arm & it’s not coincidental that Sunderland’s fortunes took an upturn & they are looking for a European spot. He is starting to command games & anyone who seen his save from Carlos Tevez this season will tell you it was an amazing stop!
Spurs have been very impressive yet again this season & it has been Alan Hutton’s best season for them so far. He is having a tough battle with Vedran Corluka for the right back spot but he has improved defensively, although still capable of the odd mistake. You will also be hard pushed to find a better right back going forward than this £9m man, he provides assists & his runs lead to plenty of free-kicks & penalties.
At Birmingham they have the Scots talisman James McFadden but he has missed most of the season through injury. But the Carling Cup finalists rely a lot on former Scotland captain Barry Ferguson, who made more completed passes than anyone in the EPL last season.
At league leaders Manchester United you have current Scotland captain Darren Fletcher. Who gets picked more often than not & that is because he knows what is expected of him. He runs all day, breaks up the play, gives the ball to the creative players & has a great knack of popping up with crucial goals.
Then you look at the likes of £6m striker Steven Fletcher & Christophe Berra playing regularly with Wolves & the Caldwell brothers at Wigan… well they play. Graham Dorrans seems to have settled in to the EPL well enough & looks like he will only improve with more games.
Now talking of settling in…. The only way you will not have heard of Charlie Adam this January is that you have been in hibernation for a month! He was linked with a £10m move to Liverpool, Man Utd & Tottenham. His range of passing has been superb. He seems to get Blackpool by the scruff of their necks & improve them, leading by example. He has also scored 7 times & has been Ian Holloway’s main man.
There are also youngsters coming through down south to be excited about. At Aston Villa they have brought through Barry Bannan into the 1st team & he has since made his International debut. At Liverpool they have Danny Wilson, Scotland’s best hope for a world class centre back, he is composed & left footed & has impressed Kenny Dalglish at Anfield. James MacArthur at Wigan is now getting Premiership starts & will hopefully make more.
The future looks bright for Scottish players in England’s top league & hopefully it will only get better. Obviously having five Scottish managers managing down there helps.
Written by our guest author Scott Johnston, you can check out some of his other work at http://www.thefootyblog.net