Scottish FA performance director Brian McClair is adamant that Manchester United kid Donald Love will not turn his back on Scotland after making his debut for Louis van Gaal’s side on Saturday.
The Scotland Under-21 internationalist came on for the injured Matteo Darmian after 37 minutes at Sunderland and despite the 2-1 defeat, the defender earned passed marks from van Gaal.
The 21-year-old was born in Rochdale but qualifies to play for Scotland through a gran that comes from Stranraer, and the versatile defender has been capped at Under-17, 19 and 21 level.
But with Southampton striker Sam Gallagher’s defection to England in 2014 still fresh in the memory, the Scottish FA are well aware that Love could still switch his allegiance up until the point that he makes a competitive appearance for Scotland.
One-time Scotland international and former Man United player and youth academy director McClair, however, is confident Love will remain loyal to Scotland.
McClair said: “He was born in England, but his gran comes from Stranraer and he’s made it clear that he wants to play for Scotland.
“Ricky Sbragia (Scotland Under-21 coach) and I have been aware of him for a while from our time at Manchester United, where he’s been since the age of eight.
“He’s been impressive when he’s played for Scotland at Under-21 level.
“He’s shown a versatility in his game when he has been away with us. He has a good understanding of the game, which means he can pretty much play wherever he’s asked.
“He’s a player who is comfortable all over the pitch, and has played in numerous positions for United’s youth teams.
“He’s a good striker of the ball, and he has a really good right foot.”
McClair reckons there is still time for Love, who returned to Old Trafford in January following a three-month loan stint at Wigan, to play himself into Gordon Strachan’s full squad for next month’s friendlies against the Czech Republic and Denmark.
He added: “I think it’s a great sign of progress that he was given a chance by the manager to show what he can do.
“With the injuries at United at the moment, he has a chance of getting more games under his belt, and I’m sure that is something that Gordon will be keeping an eye on.
“He’s got a lot going for him, but overall to see a young Scottish player feature in that environment can only be a positive thing.
“Making your debut for such a big club like Manchester United is nerve-wracking for any player, let alone a young player in such a high-pressure environment like a Premier League match.
“He’d have no doubt been apprehensive, but he was positive in his involvement in the match.
“He was one of United’s most attacking threats on Saturday.”