The Rangers and Celtic in the Premier League debate might have died down since the Ibrox club spectacularly fell down the divisions after financial meltdown, but the Scots have definitely been making their mark in the English top flight proving that talent from north of the border is breaking through.
As another World Cup campaign approaches, Craig Levein will be looking to a squad that grows with Premier League experience and the following five players prove that the future is bright for Scottish football.
The former Celtic man has taken some time to adjust to the demands of the Premier League judging by his largely forgetful spell at Aston Villa, but he is fast becoming an integral part of Roberto Martinez’s first team plans. Wonder strike versus Manchester United aside last season, Maloney has more regularly featured in the wide left hand position of Wigan’s flexible formation that also means that a player that blurs the line between winger and attacking midfielder has the close control and excellent through ball that also makes him a threat in a floating behind the striker should Martinez give him that role.
Chief creator and goal scorer for Simon Grayson’s promotion winning Leeds side, the midfielder continued his football education in the Championship taking the captain’s armband at the Yorkshire club before he rightfully earned a move to Premier League survivalists Norwich City. The unorthodox wide man joins a midfield quartet that includes former Leeds teammates Jonny Howson and Bradley Johnson. Comfortable with the ball at either foot and with the workrate likely to be demanded from Chris Hughton, Snodgrass’s tendency to cut infield means he can have a more creative influence in the game and has already shown that he has is a sweet striker of the ball.
It has taken some time for the Middlesbrough academy graduate to live up to the early promise, but under Roy Hodgson and now Steve Clarke, the midfielder is beginning to deliver more consistent performances in an Albion shirt. Playing as the most central of an attacking midfield three, Morrison continues to show that he is at the heart of everything that is great about Albion’s play and has the technique and flair to open up defences. For all of his creativity and ability to keep the ball, it’s the increased work rate most evident under Hodgson which will benefit both club and country. Let’s not forget he has something of a strike on him as well.
The clubs may have been circling around his similarly named midfield partner James McCarthy, but the two former Hamilton Academical players are beginning to bear fruit for Roberto Martinez and his strong Scottish contingent at the DW Stadium. Playing alongside McCarthy in Wigan’s season defining 3-4-3 formation last season and into the new campaign, McArthur rarely gives the ball away when in possession which is clearly a quality that the manager appreciates. Playing a little more advanced than McCarthy, we could see the Scot prove a more attacking threat than in previous seasons as well as provide the shield that has helped Wigan enjoy a more solid start to the league campaign this year.
Sunderland seemingly paid ridiculous money to secure his services when compared to the fees that some of the most established marksmen have moved for in the summer in England and on the continent, but Martin O’Neill. Clearly believes the man once tracked by Real Madrid is worth the money. Yet to score close to 20 goals in a season, Fletcher does his best work inside the box anticipating the delivery from out wide and shared a good understanding with Wolves winger Matt Jarvis last season. In touchline-hugging wingers James McClean and Adam Johnson, Fletcher has already shown what he is capable of if the two midfielders are disciplined with their final ball. His current relationship with Craig Levein however suggests the manager would have to step down before Fletcher considered stepping out for the Tartan Army again.