BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
SCOTLAND under-21 manager Scot Gemmill is set to be handed a massive injury boost after confirming that captain Oliver Burke is due to join up with the national side ahead of Friday night’s clash with England.
Burke, 20, has played just 35 minutes of football for West Bromwich Albion since arriving at the club in a £15 million switch from RB Leipzig in August after suffering a hamstring strain. His last appearance came as a substitute against Brighton a month ago.
However, the most expensive Scottish footballer in history is finally stepped up his return to full fitness by playing just over an hour for the Baggies’ under-23 side in their 3-0 Checkatrade Trophy defeat against Shrewsbury on Tuesday night.
Gemmill now expects Burke to be cleared to travel north on Wednesday ahead of the mouth-watering Euro 2019 qualifier against the Auld Enemy.
Gemmill said: “Everything is on track and Oliver Burke is involved with his club. The communication has been great with West Brom and we are very grateful to them. They are working to make it happen.
“We will wait and see how Oliver is but we are hopeful that he will join up with the squad. That was always the plan.
“Touch wood, everything goes well and he will join up with us.
“He captained the team in the last game against Holland and he will be determined to join up with the squad for the England game. All the players are motivated. You could see that in our performance against Holland last month.”
Meanwhile, Gemmill is adamant Scotland must hit the heights of their triumph over the Dutch all over again if they are to have a chance of stunning Aidy Boothroyd’s men at the Riverside, with the Three Lions able to call upon the likes of Dominik Solanke of Liverpool, Everton’s Tom Davies and Leicester ace Ben Chilwell.
He added: “If you look at our game against Holland we did well because everyone did their jobs. They are all good players – but we came together as a team. It was a really strong team performance and it will need to be the same on Friday if we are to get what we want.”