Aberdeen Premier League wing king Fraser: Alex McLeish has shown faith in me. I’m trying to repay him for Scotland

Scotland captain Andy Robertson, left, with Ryan Fraser at full-time against Israel.
Scotland captain Andy Robertson, left, with Ryan Fraser at full-time against Israel.

Ryan Fraser wants to repay Scotland boss Alex McLeish for giving him a chance in international football.

The former Aberdeen winger started in the national team’s victories over Albania on Saturday and Israel on Tuesday.

Those two wins meant Scotland won Nations League group C1 and have secured a play-off spot in their quest to qualify for the 2020 European Championships.

Fraser netted his first international goal in the 4-0 triumph over Albania and he was a constant threat against the Israelis.

The two starts take Fraser to six international caps, with four of them starts.

All the Bournemouth player’s starts have come under current boss McLeish. Under previous manager Gordon Strachan, he made one sub appearance against England in the 2-2 draw in June last year, despite performing at a high level in the English Premier League.

After Strachan left as manager, he also made a sub appearance in the 1-0 loss to the Netherlands at Pittodrie under Malky Mackay.

Fraser, who left the Dons in January 2013, currently has the most assists in the English Premier League with six and is enjoying being given opportunities with Scotland.

The 24-year-old said: “Gordon Strachan gave me my debut against England but then I didn’t really see the pitch after that.

“I was doing well for Bournemouth, but that’s what happens, he had other players he wanted to pick in front of me.

“The gaffer here has shown faith in me and I’m just trying to repay him.

“I’ve been doing well this season and I just try to enjoy it.

“I don’t put any pressure on myself, what will be will be. Who knows at the end of the season what my targets might be.

“I don’t know what’s behind my start to the season really. I think part of it is having confidence and believing in yourself.

“I don’t think about it too much and get uptight about what I need to do.

“I just go on the pitch and try my best – if it doesn’t come off, it doesn’t come off. There’s a maturity as well because I’m 24 now, I’m getting on a bit.”

Fraser says Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe has played a big part in boosting his confidence, along with former Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy when he had a loan spell at Portman Road in the 2015/16 season.

He added: “Eddie Howe and Mick McCarthy have helped with self-belief, but it’s probably come from me the most.

“It can sometimes be hard for managers to give you belief, but you need to give it to yourself.

“Sometimes you get moments in games which might spark something for you and I’ve had that this season.”

Fraser believes Scotland showed a lot of resilience to come from a goal down on Tuesday night to beat Israel 3-2 at Hampden.

He said: “It was a bad start and it took a lot of character and was a big test to come through what we came through.

“To go 3-1 up takes a lot of courage and even in the last game against Albania people were saying it should be a walkover.

“But Wales got beat by Albania on Tuesday and they played a strong team with Gareth Bale playing.

“I think that needs to be recognised as well because we took the form from that game into the Israel game, which is nice.”

In the matches against both Israel and Albania, McLeish fielded a young inexperienced side due to the raft of injury withdrawals from his squad.

Fraser thinks having a young team with few caps has advantages and disadvantages.

He said: “In patches the lack of experience shows how it can be good and in patches it shows how it can be bad.

“We did well to go 3-1 up and then there was a little bit of inexperience to concede the goal and then it was nervous at the end.

“It’s not nice in that sense – but everyone being young and ambitious helps with people going forward and scoring goals.

“I think we scored more goals in the two games than Scotland have scored for a while.

“Hopefully that can help get the fans off their seats if we’re playing expansive football.”

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