The Bannan-aman Is Our Future - Levein
Scotland manager Craig Levein stuck two fingers up to his critics over the team selected to face the Faroe Islands last night and simply pointed to our own Barry Bannan.
I'm not one to get carried away with youth players, in fact the last two times I have concerned Luke Moore, who I still claim should've been given the chances Gabby was, and when I said Liam Ridgewell would be a future England captain...it could still happen.
I haven't got too carried away when it came to Marc 'Albie' Albrighton. I've tried to stay grounded with Ciaran 'McGrath' Clark. People thought I was a plonker when I said Nathan 'Delboy' Delfouneso should be picked ahead of Heskey and Carew. I could go on, I won't. I'm tired. At some point everybody needs sleep, so I'll see you Vital people at somepoint gone 5pm I guess.
However, I've long since stuck my prediction in for Barry 'the Bananman' Bannan and as can be assumed from my verbal 'I'd have his kids' international roundup last night, well I kept saying he should be proud of his performance and in no way be disappointed that he failed to find the net because he will, soon, in my opinion for Scotland. It seems Craig Levein is singing my hymn sheet.
Bannan is a God amongst men may sound like a very tired cliche, or I may have made it up? Who cares -it's true.
Speaking to assembled press after last night's game, Levein was adamant that his decision to go ahead with the friendly (after 9 odd players withdraw or something like that, sorry I don't pay much attention to Scotland) was vindicated by the performances of the lads he brought in, and in a blow my own trumpet moment, Levein confirmed that Bannan has seriously played himself into his plans for the immediate future.
He actually went as far as saying Bannan is now seriously in his thoughts for the European Championships in 2012. Not as a bit part. Not as somebody to bloody slowly over time...the Bananaman is a challenging first teamer.
Stone of Destiny...the wee man's a Villan!
'There will still be some people who doubt whether it was worthwhile. But we got to see the future of Scottish football.'
In answer to a caveat I used myself, it was only the Faroe Islands...Levein pulls no punches in adding that Scotland have struggled in previous years to tonk three goals past 'so called smaller opponents' so he's not prepared to entertain criticisms along those lines and given he has a greater knowledge of Scottish football than I do, who am I to argue?
'I am delighted with Barry Bannan. After a shaky first five minutes, he settled down and showed signs of what the future is for Scottish football. If he keeps playing the way he is for Aston Villa, then I would be silly not to include him in the squad.'
If Bannan wanted a quote from Levein tonight that would be it, but he wasn't finished yet.
'He is still just a young boy but you saw tonight that he definitely has something to offer. His rise at Villa this season has been meteoric this season and, when he has played 50-75 Premiership games and ten Scotland internationals, he is going to be a really top player.'
Some have referenced Archie Gemmill as a comparison, I'll bow to those of that era as I know the name and think I have seen one wondergoal for Scotland...I think Bannan could be better.
But a debut performance where the manager says he'd be silly to ignore him again...way to go Bananaman. Villan's expected you to do well...you did better.
Never a bad sign when you beat expectations.
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