It’s every kids dream to play for their country at international level and Motherwell star Allan Campbell is no different.
After 24 appearances at U21s level, Campbell is moving on from international youth football as the nation’s fourth record appearance holder at that level. It’s just reward for his excellent form at Fir Park.
Now the battler is setting his sights on Euro 2020 next summer after the senior side qualified for a first major tournament since 1998, the summer in which Campbell was born.
He knows he has the likes of John McGinn, Stuart Armstrong, Callum McGregor and Ryan Jack to dislodge, but the 22-year-old hopes to join Well teammates Declan Gallagher and Stephen O’Donnell in Steve Clarke’s plans.
“It’s every young footballer’s dream,” said Campbell. “I think that’s one of the things you think about when you’re younger, playing for club and country, but I have a lot to do before I can think about that just now.
“I need to perform well at Motherwell and just keep my head down, keep grafting away. It’s what I’ve done for all of my career, so that’s what I’ll continue to do.
“My main focus now is trying to keep playing well at Motherwell and keep trying to impress the gaffer at Scotland and you never know what happens.
“I got the chance with the U21s at a young age and I’ve got a lot of games. It has helped a lot in the development of my career, playing against all different types of players, and challenging myself to see how I can improve and get better. It stands me in good stead.
“We were just a wee bit short of qualifying and I think that was a wee bit more frustrating as well because you looked around the dressing room and saw so many quality players.
“I think now everybody has a great chance to go back to their clubs, perform well. Everybody’s dream is to get to the ‘A’ squad, so I just need to keep performing here and see what happens.”
Campbell got back from Greece in the early hours of Wednesday morning as the U21s narrowly missed out on their own European Championship spot at that level. But as someone who loves the game, Campbell’s ready to get back into domestic action.
“It was obviously gutting that we were one game short of qualifying, but it’s something that i can learn from, having experienced that sort of situation,” said Campbell.
“For me now, I just need to keep kicking on and obviously my dream would be to play for my country but there’s a lot to go, so I just need to keep trying to perform well at Motherwell and see what happens.
“It’s a huge honour, the amount of caps I have got. I got the chance young and I have loved every minute of it. I’m now ready for the game at the weekend. I just love playing football.
“Playing, recover, playing, recover, that’s what I look forward to.”
With hype finally starting to build around Motherwell’s tenacious midfielder after a couple of seasons of flying under the radar, his manager Stephen Robinson hopes Campbell can be rewarded with a Euro 2020 berth.
“I got asked, ‘Would it be a surprise if Allan would be in the Euros squad?’ And it wouldn’t surprise me,” said the Well boss. “Anything put in front of the wee man, he rises to the challenge.
“Is he good enough to do that? He certainly is. There’s a real goal. From my experience with Northern Ireland, the team that qualified certainly wasn’t the squad that went to the Euros. There were quite a few changes and quite a few people came late.
“Why can’t Tony Watt get in the squad? Mark O’Hara? Why can’t those boys push? I’m not saying they will, but they have certainly got the talent to and Steve is very open to looking at people as he has proved.
“I think all the younger Scottish players have got real motivation now and it is certainly up for grabs.”