Having been warming the Arbroath bench this season, goalkeeper Leonard Wilson is ready to spring into action after being named in the Scotland under-18 schoolboys’ squad.
Following two extensive trials in Glasgow, Wilson was last week named as part of an 18-strong squad set to represent Scotland in next year’s Centenary Shield.
And it is no surprise that 16-year-old Wilson was one of the lucky few selected, having been a regular in Arbroath’s first team squad and a starter for the under-19s for much of this season.
Wilson will face Wales, England, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in the Centenary Shield and is relishing another battle for the number one shirt – this time for Scotland.
“I was delighted to get on the team, it’s a great honour to represent your country at any level so it’s going to be great,” Wilson said.
“It’s the first time I will have played at any national level so it’s really exciting. Just to get to the final trials was a huge confidence booster and then to get into the squad was great.
“In the first trials there were three goalkeepers trying out and then at the second there was another five so I was really happy to come through as one of the top two.
“I’m looking forward to having a battle for that number one shirt.”
Taking the reins for the Scotland under-18 schoolboys squad for this season’s Centenary Shield is Billy Henderson, fresh from leading Scotland’s under-15 girls to success in the Bob Docherty Trophy.
And, after the under-18 boys struggled to get off the ground last season, losing all four of their Centenary Shield matches, manager Henderson wants a fast start from Wilson.
“From what I have been told about last season it was obviously disappointing and it all stemmed from leading 1-0 in the first game against Northern Ireland only to concede two late goals,” he said.
“That defeat had a psychological effect on the boys and hung over them for the rest of the competition and they couldn’t shake it.
“We have two home games to start this season and it is not only important to win your home games but also to get off to a fast start, especially after last year.”
l TSB, proud partner of the Scottish Schools’ FA, is delighted to support the Scotland Under-18 schoolboys squad for their 2014 Centenary Shield campaign. For the latest squad news, visit scottishfa.co.uk/ssfa