Millwall defender targets Scotland call-up for Euros – and why he should be in with a chance

MURRAY Wallace hasn’t given up hope of a Scotland call-up – and is using it as major motivation for the rest of this season.

Scotland last year qualified for the delayed Euro 2020 this summer – their first major tournament since the World Cup in France in 1998 – and are in Group D alongside England, Croatia and Czech Republic.

Steve Clarke’s side have a tantalising fixture against England at Wembley on June 18, their second game of the tournament.

Wallace has played for the Scotland under-20 and under-21 sides but has never received a senior call-up.

Scotland have two of the best left-backs in the Premier League in Liverpool’s Andy Robertson and Kieran Tierney of Arsenal, but aren’t as well-stocked at centre-back, meaning there could be an opening for Wallace.

Clarke’s centre-backs when they defeated Serbia 5-4 on penalties in their play-off were Tierney, Manchester United’s Scott McTominay, a natural midfielder, and Declan Gallagher, a 30-year-old Motherwell defender who was called up for the first time in 2019.

Three Championship defenders were called up last week for the opening World Cup 2022 qualifiers: Grant Hanley (Norwich), Liam Palmer (Sheffield Wednesday) and Scott McKenna (Nottingham Forest). The latter two play for teams currently below Millwall in the Championship.

Wallace has played most of his football at left-back and left wing-back for the Lions. But he went into the middle of a back three against Middlesbrough last Saturday and was excellent as Millwall won 1-0, keeping their 15th clean sheet of the season.

That’s a position Wallace could nail down for the remaining eight games of the season, potentially giving him the chance to attract the notice of Clarke.

Murray Wallace could have a run at centre-back for the rest of this season

Wallace admitted he has thought about the possibility of his performances for Millwall resulting in a senior call-up for his country.

“Yeah, there’s always that motivation,” Wallace said. “I was devastated to get injured, I was hoping to get in a lot of games and maybe put myself in with a shout of getting in there.

“That’s another reason I was massively disappointed to be injured but that’s a sort of motivation to kick on, put in some good performances and get some good results.

“You do that then hopefully you start to get noticed and you might be in with a chance of selection.”

Millwall have little to play for this season with their play-off chances all but over.

But, apart from his Scotland ambitions, Wallace wants a strong finish to the season to bring that momentum into 2021-22.

He said: “You could look at the table and see we’re so many points off the play-offs and so many points off relegation and say, ‘that’s us middle of the table, that’s where we’re going to finish’.

“But there are still those points to play for and they’re there to be won, you can never rule anything out.

“At this point you’ve just got to look at putting in a good performance in each game.

“Sometimes what I’ve noticed over my career is a really strong end to one season can kick into the following season. That’s massively important regardless of where we finish this season.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly