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INTERNATIONAL: Striker makes the cut

8 May 2013

Beck to be involved in Belgium

Striker Mark Beck today admitted that he was ‘over the moon’ following confirmation of his call-up to the Scotland U19 squad for the UEFA U19 Championship, Elite Round to be held in Belgium between 19 and 30 May. 

Scotland will face Belgium, Georgia and England in their round-robin of fixtures and Beck will rub shoulders with players from the likes of Celtic, Rangers, Chelsea and Everton when Ricky Sbragia pulls his side together ahead of the trip into Europe. 

Beck, 19, came off the bench to score and to provide an assist on his international debut as Scotland overturned a two-goal first-half deficit to claim an impressive 3-2 win over Sweden back in March.

An invite to the pre-selection training camp followed and the big target-man, who scored six goals in 32 appearances for United this season, has been rewarded with a call-up to the full squad for the prestigious Elite Round stages of this year’s competition.

“It’s unbelievable that this has happened,” Beck told us. “I’m over the moon that I’ve been selected and I’m just really looking forward to it now.

“To be honest, I still haven’t seen the official letter myself yet, so I hope it isn’t all a massive wind up! My dad and my auntie have seen it and they’re delighted as well, and I think it’s fair to say my whole family is feeling very proud.”

“There’s a different edge to this because the games I played a few months ago were friendlies,” he told us. “These ones really matter and it doesn’t get any better than playing against Belgium and England. The game against Georgia will be good as well, but the other two stand out a bit.”

“It’ll be strange playing against England, when I come to think about it, because I’ve grown up thinking of it as my country,” he admitted. “However, I’ve been selected to play for Scotland and I will go out there to do my best for them ... if I’m chosen to play.”

“I’ve said a few times now that this has been an unbelievable season,” he added. “I never expected any of it and I have to thank the gaffer and the rest of the staff for what they’ve done for me. I’ve learned a lot and it’s led to me getting picked for this competition, which is fantastic for me.

“I’ll try and use my pitch time as much as I can, if the manager [Ricky Sbragia] does decide to pick me. I’ve played a fair bit for Carlisle United and that might give me an advantage over some of the others who haven’t had as much first team football. We’ll just have to wait and see with that because there are some quality players in the squad. I’m just pleased to be in amongst it.”

The UEFA U19 European Championship finals are due to be held in Lithuania later this year.

The Scotland U19 Elite Round, Group 6 schedule is as follows:

Scotland v Belgium, 24 May (kick off 6pm), De Keunen Stadium, Geel
Scotland v Georgia, 26 May (kick off 3pm), Oosterzonen Stadion, Westerlo KFC 
England v Scotland, 29 May (kick off 6pm), Oosterzonen Stadion, Westerlo KFC

Meanwhile right back Brad Potts has been placed on standby by the England U19 squad for the same competition. 

Potts, also 19, will find out next week if he is to join the main squad and will remain on standby until the final week of the Elite Round stages of the competition.

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