Arsenal youngster Charlie Gilmour revealed this week that he chose to represent Scotland internationally over England, having played for both countries at youth level.
Gilmour told the Arsenal pre-Milan match programme that he chose to play for Scotland from now on.
He played for England at u16 and u17 level, but recently made his debut for the Scotland u19s.
The boyhood Arsenal fan explained that the decision wasn’t so much about blood or heritage. Rather, he thinks playing for Scotland is the right way to become the best player he can be.
“Another thing I’ve been looking to improve is the defensive side of my game, and that’s a big part of why I opted to commit my future to Scotland,” he said. “I’ve played for England, but have strong roots with Scotland through my dad.
“I’ve found that the Scotland national teams I play for are more of a team that play for each other, rather than relying on individual talent.
“England tend to be on the attack and have less of an emphasis on defence, whereas Scotland more often find themselves defending as a team for large parts of a game and I believe that will help make me a better all-round midfielder.”
It’s a good justification. Playing for Arsenal and England, it’s likely Gilmour would spend most of his time in teams on the attack. Then, when he played against a side that put him on the back foot, he might struggle to adapt.
This way, he’ll hopefully be able to learn one side of the game at club level, and the other internationally.
Of course, the other advantage to playing for Scotland is a much clearer route to the senior side. England really struggle to integrate their many talented youngsters into the first team.
So far, it seems Gilmour is enjoying his time with Scotland. He told the programme that the best moment of his career was scoring on his Scotland debut against Italy.
With any luck, he’ll surpass that someday in the Arsenal first-team.