The former Aberdeen skipper had never started a competitive game for his country this time a week ago but, inside just 180 minutes of football, Jack might have just made himself indispensable to Clarke’s plans.
The 27-year-old has been one of the first names on Steven Gerrard’s team-sheet for Rangers this season, taking his game to a whole new level under the Liverpool legend, and he brought his club form onto the international stage with eye-catching performances in wins against Cyprus and Kazakhstan.
Jack’s energy and selflessness proved to be very effective alongside Celtic’s Callum McGregor in the heart of a new-look Scotland midfield, while giving the prolific John McGinn the freedom he requires to burst forwards into the box.
“I thought the balance in midfield in both games with Ryan and Callum was really good,” said Clarke. “I’m not really surprised with Ryan because I have obviously seen him up close when I was manager of Kilmarnock. I knew the qualities that he had.
“The European experience that he’s getting playing with his club will also stand him in good stead. Listen, he has done himself a power of good in the two games.”
Despite enduring another underwhelming qualification campaign, Scotland are not short of quality options in midfield with Manchester United’s Scott McTominay and Norwich ace Kenny McLean hoping to feature in the Euro 2020 play-offs after missing November’s double-header with injury.
Jack, then, cannot afford to let his performance levels drop between now and then.
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