Scotland under-21 manager Scot Gemmill thinks Aaron Hickey could see a “huge benefit to his development” by playing for his side after the Bologna defender withdrew from another squad.

Hickey has yet to make his debut for the U21s since his maiden call-up a year ago, withdrawing from each squad he’s been named in and, while Gemmill respects the talented youngster’s decision, he thinks it could help make him a better player.

Netherlands v Scotland under-21 - UEFA European Under-21 Championship 2019 Qualifying

(Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

“My job is to pick the best players,” said Gemmill. “We select Aaron and then the rest is down to him.

“We can’t force him to come and play. It’s his decision and I completely respect it.

“I feel that Aaron could have a huge benefit to his development by coming to play for the under-21s.

“But if Aaron feels he’s not in a position to play then we have to respect that.”

Hickey will miss the games against Kazakhstan and Belgium as Gemmill’s side look to take a big step towards securing qualification for the European Championships.

The defender has been a regular in the Bologna side this season and was recently linked with a move to Milan aftre being personally scouted by Paolo Maldini.

With the likes of Kieran Tierney and Andy Robertson ahead of him in the pecking order for a place in the senior squad, turning out for the U21s would be a good step for Hickey.

While it’ll hardly match up to the rigours of playing in Serie A, the experience of travelling with the national side, albeit at under-21 level, can help prepare him for later in his career when he’s involved with the full squad.

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