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Ben Doak reprises new role for Scotland U21s – assists in ‘generational’ win

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Ben Doak was again played as a centre-forward as Scotland U21s beat Belgium 2-0, in a victory manager Scot Gemmill saw as a marker for “this generation.”

Though he is a natural right winger, Doak’s role with Scotland U21s is decidedly different, with a lack of options often requiring the 18-year-old to play up front.

It has paid off for Gemmill, with Friday bringing a 2-0 win over Belgium that saw his No. 7 play a part in both goals.

Scotland’s first came from a corner routine, with the set-piece initially won through Doak pressing goalkeeper Maarten Vandevoordt into a mistake, Jeremiah Chilokoa-Mullen then heading home.

Doak then assisted the second just after the half-hour mark, again forcing a misplaced pass from Vandevoordt and, after being found on the edge of the box, turning and feeding Lyall Cameron to make it 2-0.

It was an influential display from the teenager, who was brought off after an hour as Gemmill looked for more defensive stability – and likely with an eye on Tuesday’s clash with Hungary.

“It is a fantastic result because we can agree on the fact that Belgium are a top team. I’m obviously delighted for the players,” Gemmill told the Daily Record.

“Of course, it was real backs to the walls but it shows another side to the players and it shows we are working with the right players because they were willing to do that.

“It showed they had that kind of performance in them.

“If you look back at some of the previous generations who went away to Croatia and the Netherlands and won, I am delighted that this generation have achieved such a big result at a top, top nation like Belgium.

“However, we need to put it to good use and do it again against Hungary.”

LINZ, AUSTRIA - Thursday, September 21, 2023: Liverpool's Ben Doak walks out before the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 1 game between LASK and Liverpool FC at the Raiffeisen Arena. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Scotland are currently second in Group B of qualifying for the U21s Euros in 2025, with three wins and a draw from four games – though only top spot, held by Spain, guarantees a spot at the tournament.

There are six more fixtures over the next 11 months, with it unclear whether Doak will still be part of the squad by then.

Since stepping up from U17s to U21s, he has scored one and assisted another in four games, with national team manager Steve Clarke monitoring his progress ahead of a senior call-up.