Callum Paterson will start in his favoured right-back role for Scotland Under-21s against the Netherlands tomorrow night.
Having used the Hearts teenager as a striker and a right winger in previous under-21 games, coach Billy Stark acknowledged today that Paterson’s best position is full-back.
Scotland need to win the European Under-21 Championship qualifier at St Mirren Park to have a realistic chance of making the finals and Stark will select his strongest side.
Paterson has played a variety of roles at club level since breaking into the senior team at Hearts two years ago, including centre-forward, right wing and midfield. However, he told his club he wanted to focus on right-back as his long-term position and Stark is of the same opinion.
“We’ve always felt he was a right-back,” said Stark. “I remember seeing him playing for the under-19s a few years back and he’s played centre-back, right-back, wide right and occasionally centre-forward. He’s got athleticism and a good spring in the air. The big plus is he’s turned himself into a goalscoring right-back. That threat at set-pieces is there no matter what position he plays.
“Callum is quick, he’s a good size and he wants to use that energy. He channels it far better as a right-back than he did as a centre-forward. He’ll tell you that himself. His favourite position is right-back.
“I spoke to him before the Hungary game in March and let him know that we saw him as a right-back. I had to play him as a striker that night because we aren’t well off for strikers. He was happy to do that and happy to hear that I consider him a right-back. That’s where he’ll play tomorrow.”