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Kingsley up for the battle

By August 30, 2016No Comments

Stephen Kingsley is relishing the formidable challenge of establishing himself as number one left-back for Scotland.

The 22-year-old Swansea defender, who started his career at Falkirk, was included in Gordon Strachan’s squad for the friendly double-header against Italy and France at the end of last season and made his debut as a second-half substitute against the French in the 3-0 defeat in Metz.

However, standing in front of Kingsley for a regular spot in the A squad is the equally young Andrew Robertson, 22, of Hull and Celtic’s Kieran Tierney, 19, who will be vying for a start in the Scots’ opening 2018 World Cup qualifier in Malta on Sunday.

Kingsley has returned to the Scotland Under-21 squad for the European Under-21 Championship qualifying matches against FYR Macedonia and Ukraine on September 2 and 6 respectively but his taste of action in France has left him keen for more even though he recognises the “tough task” ahead.

“I was on the bench for the Italy game and to see the boys playing and seeing how they set up and train, it was great to be a part of it,” he said.

“Come the France game and the position they were in going into the Euros as the home nation was an experience in itself and obviously to get the first cap was a dream come true.

“It just makes you want to strive for more.

“It is a tough task, (Robertson and Tierney) are two very good players. I know Andy, I played against him two weeks ago at Hull.

“It is good for us to try to push ourselves and try to get in the A squad.

“I have not made the cut this time but hopefully if I can keep proving myself at Swansea then it will come.

“These types of challenges is what makes you a better player so I am for it.”

Kingsley had loan spells at Yeovil and Crewe before making his Swans debut in a 2-1 win at Arsenal in March under manager Francesco Guidolin, who took over from in January following the earlier departure of Garry Monk.

He has played in all three of the Welsh club’s Premier League games this season and is enjoying life in European football’s highest-profile league.

“The end of last season and the start of this season has been brilliant and I am just looking to continue that on,” he said.

“A new manager came in at the end of last season and we are still kind of getting to grips with what he is asking for but we are getting there.

“I am loving the experience, soaking it all in and playing every game as if it was my last.

“I just want to get as much as experience I can and hopefully if I do well that can lead to things with the Scotland A squad.”

Scotland’s Under-21 side have taken eight points from six games and are six points behind Group 3 leaders France and four behind Iceland and FYC Macedonia, which leaves qualifying a difficult prospect.

Kingsley said: “There have been ups and downs, we’ve had some good results and some performances where we could have done a lot better.

“We have two good games coming up so hopefully we get the two right results we are looking for and we know if we do that we have a good chance of winning.

“It is a great test for us and great experience.”

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