Capital starlet Ethan Hamilton has been urged to follow the path of his hero, Scotland icon Darren Fletcher, when the Manchester United kid helps the young Scots open their Under-19s Euro Elite Round in the Czech Republic.
Scotland’s kids were set to kick off their group this morning in Zlin with a game against Austria, with two other games to come against the hosts and Hungary. The winner of the group earns a place at the finals in Georgia in July.
Scots boss Ricky Sbragia admits he has high hopes for the latest young Scot to come off the Old Trafford conveyor belt of talent, with midfielder Hamilton a product of Hutchison Vale club that Fletcher played for too as a youngster.
The 18-year-old from Edinburgh joined United two years ago and has already been fast-tracked into the United reserves after catching the eye.
Hamilton has admitted he regards Fletcher – who is now at West Brom after more than 250 appearances for United – as his inspiration and Sbragia, who was at Old Trafford as a coach under Sir Alex Ferguson when Fletcher was beginning to make his mark, believes there’s no better role model Hamilton could have picked.
Sbragia said: “He’s a talent, there’s no doubt about it. He went from Hutchie Vale to Man United and they’ve got high hopes for him. He’s developed as a man. I met him and his family a few weeks ago and had a chat with him. He loves it there.
“He wants to come, which is really important. He wants to play for Scotland. At United they say he is a great pro.
“He’s box to box. He’s got a great physique and technically he’s very good. He knows the game. The great thing for me is that he is happy down there. His accommodation is good, he wants to learn, his education has been good.
“He’s definitely got a chance at Man United. He’ll be given an opportunity. When I phoned him and asked him to come to Andorra for the qualifying campaign he was over the moon. I’d seen him four or five times and was hoping he would say yes and was delighted when he did.
“He said his inspiration is Darren Fletcher and Fletch is everything you want a footballer to be. He came and played for the reserves when I was there and it wasn’t a problem. He’s a great example and I think he has spoken to him as well when he first came down. If you ever want to model yourself on someone as a pro, it would be Darren.”