Meet the Ladbrokes Premiership stars who can shine at Euro 2016
While Gordon Strachan’s Scotland side narrowly missed out on Euro 2016 following a tough qualifying campaign, there’s still a number of Ladbrokes SPFL stars set to impress at this summer’s tournament in France. We look at the magnificent seven who are heading to the Euros, and what to expect from them:
Winger: Niall McGinn – Aberdeen & Northern Ireland
McGinn and Kyle Lafferty may have been on two different sides of the Old Firm divide for several years at club level, but for Northern Ireland, this talented duo have proved too hot for opponents to handle – with wing wizard McGinn the provider for the ex-Rangers striking star.
A superb crosser of the ball, the Dons man isn’t short of a goal or two himself, netting 11 times for Aberdeen last season, as well as grabbing a crucial goal in the 2-1 victory in Romania during qualifying.
CB: Dedryck Boyata – Celtic & Belgium
It’s fair to say you have to be quite a talent to earn a spot in a defence which includes Barcelona’s Thomas Vermaelen and Tottenham pair Toby Aldeweireld and Jan Vertonghen – and the Hoops’ man is just that.
After making his debut in 2010, the imposing centre-back had to wait until March 2016 to play again but impressed after coming on as a substitute – replacing former Celtic man Jason Denayer.
While Boyata would likely struggle to make the team if Vincent Kompany were fit, the imposing Hoops man could well be selected to add steel and a no-nonsense style to the classy ball-playing skills of the Spurs and Barca stars.
RB: Mikael Lustig – Celtic & Sweden
A classy, consistent and calm presence on the Hoops’ right flank, the Swedish beanpole has been a regular name on the Blagult teamsheet since his debut in 2008.
The 29-year-old had his best ever season for the Hoops last year, providing four goals and six assists as Celtic secured the Ladbrokes Premiership title – as well as guiding the side to ten clean sheets in his 30 league appearances.
He’s certainly a man for the big occasion, too, having previously netted against Germany in the historic 4-4 draw which helped Sweden reach World Cup 2014.
And with reliable campaigners like Lustig on board to help world-class star Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 14/1 says they repeat the feat of Euro ’92 and exit at the semi-final stage.
GK: Michael McGovern – Hamilton Academical & Northern Ireland
While Roy Carroll is nominally Norn Iron’s first-choice keeper, the 38-year-old is highly unlikely to start every game in the French heat, with fixtures coming thick and fast.
That’s good news for McGovern, who looks set to add to his 10 caps this summer, and boss Michael O’Neill is certainly a fan, having fielded the Accies man in five of the Euro 2016 qualifiers. Expect to see him play some part when the Green and White Army face Poland and Ukraine.
GK: Owain Fon Williams – Inverness Caledonian Thistle & Wales
Having spent several years on the fringes of the Dragons squad, the Caley keeper made his Welsh debut in November 2015, replacing regular starter Wayne Hennessey as a substitute.
Chances are the Crystal Palace man will be Wales’ regular keeper, but Williams did keep 12 clean sheets in all competitions during an impressive 2015-16. So, don’t be surprised to see Williams get some game-time in France, especially with Coleman likely to rotate his line-up during the group stage, with three games in 10 days.
It’s 5/1 that Wales hit the ground running by winning Group B – ahead of England, Russia, and Slovakia, while victory over the Three Lions in Lens is a 16/5 shot.
CF: Josh Magennis – Kilmarnock & Northern Ireland
The Killie striker’s journey to international success hasn’t quite gone down the conventional route.
The 6’2” Magennis entered the Northern Ireland setup at youth level as a goalkeeper, before switching to the other end of the pitch, where he turned from occasional performer to impressive regular in the U19 side.
The 25-year-old has struggled to replicate his impressive club form for the national side, though he did net in the 3-1 win over Greece, which booked a place at Euro 2016.
GK: Alan Mannus – St Johnstone & Northern Ireland
The 34-year-old Saints keeper is presumed to be third in line behind Roy Carroll and Michael McGovern, but having played in three of Northern Ireland’s four pre-tournament friendlies, there’s a chance we might be seeing Mannus feature heavily at the Euros.
Following impressive displays against Wales and Latvia, as well as a run of four clean sheets in seven Ladbrokes Premiership games during the latter part of the season – the signs suggest that Saints’ reliable veteran could feature prominently for the national side.
It’s 2/1 that Northern Ireland qualify for the last sixteen, which could prove a popular bet, with the side unbeaten in over a year, and filled with experience and quality between the posts.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.