Sheffield Wednesday defender opens up on his international ambitions

It was a proud moment in Liam Palmer's career when he made his international bow seven months ago.

Wednesday, 9th October 2019, 21:51 pm
Liam Palmer made his Scotland debut last March

The Sheffield Wednesday full-back lined up in the Scotland defence against minnows Kazakhstan in the national team's opening Euro 2020 qualifying group fixture.

But Palmer's first and to date only appearance for his adopted homeland didn’t go as he would have wanted as the Scots suffered a humiliating 3-0 defeat the hands of Kazakhstan, who were ranked 117th in the world at the time.

The defeat culminated in the dismissal of manager Alex McLeish, who has since been replaced by Steve Clarke.

Worksop-born Palmer, who qualifies to play for Scotland due to having a granny who hailed from Carluke, said: "The whole trip to Kazakhstan was a big learning curve for me, the demands of international football.

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"Dealing with the travel, the meetings, the time difference and all that sort of stuff.

"All of those things play a part and ultimately we probably didn’t get them right, so you have to take that on board.

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"Going away now I think we might do things a bit differently.

"The only positive way to look at Kazakhstan is to learn from it, what’s done is done and you look forward.

"Right across the board managers have different ideas and ways they want to do things.

"Coming away now, everyone sits down to eat together and nobody leaves until you are all finished.

“Everyone walks out to training together, nobody wears flip flops round the table.

"All the little things that probably don’t sound like much but they are the things that keep the standards up to a level.

"If people are coming in in dribs and drabs, it doesn’t look good.

"You have to have standards and have rules to adhere to. If you have that then it carries on into the training.

"Am I surprised it wasn’t happening before? It’s difficult because it was my first trip away with the team.

"I’ve seen it done loads of different ways and especially when there’s a change in manager standards can get lost.

"So it’s up to the new manager to say ‘right, this is what we’re doing’ and for me it’s a lot better when it’s more structured and boys have things they have to adhere to."

Palmer, who has featured nine times for the Owls this season, missed the Euro double-header against Russia and Belgium at Hampden last month because his wife went into labour as he was driving north from England to join up with his Scotland team-mates.

“The last trip was a bit hectic," conceded Palmer, who hopes to be involved in the four remaining group matches against Russia, San Marino, Cyprus and Kazakhstan, starting in the Luzhniki Stadium on Thursday evening.

"I was in the squad and I was on my way up when I took a call saying that my missus was about to drop so I couldn’t risk it. I called the gaffer and he insisted I had to go back - she’d have been cursing me otherwise.

"Even though it was only a five-hour drive away, I felt that, with it being our third child, it would be a case of her getting in the car, giving birth and then leaving the hospital on the same day!

"It turned out that Beth went into labour on the Friday while the boys were playing Russia. She was eight days early and a bit apprehensive. I was trying to watch the game on my i-Pad while she was sleeping, but I couldn’t see too much of it because nurses were always coming in and out.

"Fortunately, everything went smoothly. We now have a little girl, Honor, to join Aubrey and Arlo and we were in and straight back out again. I was joking to my wife that I was coming away to avoid sleepless nights for a week but she has plenty of help down there."