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James Scanlon shows great maturity in Gibraltar’s impressive draw with Wales

James Scanlon shows great maturity in Gibraltar’s impressive draw with Wales
James Scanlon shows great maturity in Gibraltar’s impressive draw with Wales

Manchester United’s James Scanlon has had a whirlwind rise in the last few months.

The 17-year-old played a vital role in the under-18s’ wonderful season, playing 12 games and contributing eight goals and three assists.

He has been rewarded for his strong season with his first professional contract at the end of last month.

His form has not been ignored by his national side Gibraltar who gave the youngster a reward for his strong progress over the year by selecting him in their senior squad to play Lithuania in the Nations League. He also made his first senior start against Scotland last week.

The United academy star was also given a start in his side’s incredible 0-0 draw with Wales, which halted a streak of 13 consecutive losses.

Naturally, the Gibraltarians had very little of the ball, keeping only 21% and registering just one shot on goal in comparison to the Welsh’s 17.

Scanlon himself played the majority of the game, getting 76 minutes of action.

He was awarded a score of 6.7 for his efforts but this doesn’t tell the whole story of how impressively he played as an under-18 player in one of the minnows of world football against a team that reached the World Cup in 2022 and were a penalty shootout away from making this summer’s Euros.

The 17-year-old made 80% of his passes and touched the ball 18 times in the match.

He won three out of his five ground duels and was successful in one of his two dribble attempts.

He also showed great maturity only losing the ball four times and giving away one foul in a match where he would have had to do much more defending than he is used to.

Scanlon also contributed to his side’s valuable clean sheet by making one tackle and one interception.

Gibraltar will next take to the field when they return to Nations League action against Liechtenstein and will be buoyed by their draw with Wales and they will be hoping they can chalk up their first win since 2022.


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