ACCRINGTON, ENGLAND - Tuesday, October 18, 2022: Liverpool's Ben Doak during the pre-match warm-up before the English Football League Trophy Northern Group D match between Accrington Stanley FC and Liverpool FC Under-21's at the Crown Ground. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Ben Doak namechecked by Scotland manager with idea for new position

Scotland manager Steve Clarke sees Ben Doak as a “big part of our future,” with the former Liverpool first-team coach viewing him in a different role.

It was a breakthrough campaign for Doak, who swapped Celtic for Liverpool and rose from under-18s to first team in a matter of months.

The 17-year-old ended the season with 12 goals and four assists in 28 games at academy level, as well as making five senior appearances for the Reds and debuting for Scotland under-21s.

Doak is part of the Scotland U21s squad again for two friendlies against Norway later this month, but he is already on Clarke’s radar, too.

While the ex-Liverpool coach is not considering the teenager for an immediate call-up, he told football.scotland that he saw him as a “big part” of the country’s future – and suggested a change of position.

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Tuesday, January 17, 2023: Liverpool's substitutes Ben Doak (L) and Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' prepare to come on during the FA Cup 3rd Round Replay match between Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and Liverpool FC at Molineux Stadium. Liverpool won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“He’s an attacker and probably a really difficult player to play against. Because he just runs. He’s so quick and he can go either way,” Clarke said.

“You could probably play him as a striker. Just ask him to run in behind teams and stretch them.

“Again, at 17 he’s just a youngster. But he’s been in and around the Liverpool first team, without making the breakthrough.

“That’s not a criticism because it’s difficult to do at a club like that. Hopefully going forward [Doak and Aston Villa‘s Rory Wilson] can be a big part of our future.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 22, 2023: Liverpool's Ben Doak during the Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Liverpool FC Under-21's and Crystal Palace FC Under-21's at the Liverpool Academy. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Clarke remains cautious over Doak’s progress, though, which is understandable given he only turned 17 in November and has just a handful of senior outings to his name.

“Let’s not put too much pressure on them,” he continued.

“But if someone is playing regularly somewhere and scoring goals, they can be in Scotland’s first-team squad.

“I don’t think Ben is quite at that level yet but he’s working towards it.

“If he shows he’s good enough to be involved, he can be, for sure.”

Doak is expected to remain on the fringes of Liverpool’s first team next season, and could be given increased exposure with the club’s run in the Europa League.

Challenging Mohamed Salah for a spot on the right flank is near impossible, but there should be enough opportunities for the youngster to take the next step.