Scotland manager Alex McLeish has admitted he looked at Rangers defender David Bates for a place in his squad to face Costa Rica and Hungary – but revealed it came “too soon” for the 21-year-old.
Bates has become a mainstay of the Gers starting XI since the turn of the year and was tipped to make McLeish’s first squad since replacing Gordon Strachan as national team boss.
The former Raith Rovers defender has started the Gers last eleven games after replacing Bruno Alves in December’s Old Firm draw before being stretchered off himself in Sunday’s clash with Celtic.
McLeish admitted he’s been impressed by Bates and hinted the 21-year-old could make future squads.
“I looked at David over the last couple of weeks and I think it’s a bit early for him,” McLeish said, as quoted by the Evening Times.
“He’s been doing really well and he’s a big unit and I felt for him on Sunday.
“This squad might just have come too soon for him, but he’s a big rugged centre half in the old school kind of fashion and he’s learning very quickly. He’s had to come in for injured players and he has really progressed.”
Bates is facing a spell on the sidelines after being injured by Celtic’s Tom Rogic and would have likely had to withdraw from the national pool.
The central defender’s Ibrox deal comes to an end in the summer and talks are ongoing over an extension for the Kirkcaldy-born star.
Football Insider verdict:
Bates has done fantastically since coming into the side in December although a Scotland call-up is maybe a bit too early just now. Given some of the names in McLeish’s squad, like Charlie Mulgrew, Bates must not be far away though and will be frustrated that injury might have hindered his chances this time around. If the 21-year-old continues to improve as he has then there will be plenty more Scotland squads for him to force his way into. After watching Bates make his way through the ranks at Ibrox, the defender deserves huge credit for taking his opportunity and running with it.
In other Rangers news, Gers reported injury blow comes at worst possible time for 21-year-old.