OWLS midfield player Liam Palmer heads into Scotland Under 21s’ European Championship clash in Luxembourg tonight with manager Billy Stark rating him as capable of playing an important part in their qualifying campaign.
The 20-year-old, who is also in the squad to face Austria on Monday in Paisley, has improved his international prospects by playing a growing role in the Wednesday side.
Stark expained: “Seeing that players are featuring for their clubs is something that we look for when it comes to picking the Under 21 squad and Liam is doing that.
“They’re not just token appearances, either, because he’s getting 25 minutes or half an hour and making good contributions and he’s obviously valued by the manager.”
“Liam played for the Under 19s against Macedonia and was absolutely outstanding and he has been on my mind since then.
“If he keeps developing and playing regularly, he’s going to keep improving and will always be in contention for our squads.
“Liam will feature in the next two games and I hope he makes a good impression.”
Palmer comes from Worksop but qualifies for Scotland through his grandmother. Family connections would also have made him eligible for Jamaica. But he chose Scotland and has made quick progress since breaking into the Under 19s.
Stark is grateful to Owls academy manager Sean McAuley: “Sean played a big part in getting Liam to play for us. Sean enjoyed his time in Scotland and he’s done us a favour because Liam’s a good, energetic player who looks to have a bright future.
“He’s got the same sort of energy as Darren Fletcher, James Morrison and Scott Brown in the full squad.”
Palmer misses the Owls’ match against Chesterfield on Saturday because of the internationals, but Spireites midfielder Lee Johnson, who is on loan from Bristol City, sits it out owing to suspension.
Johnson’s red card in the JP Trophy 3-1 win at Notts County has been described as controversial, and a clash between the Owls and Chesterfield is bound to raise this and other talking points among the rival fans.
They include further returns to Hillsborough for John Sheridan and Drew Talbot, plus the JP Trophy tie last season when Nicky Weaver scored in a shoot-out.
This is also the first League game between the clubs since Dave Allen became Chesterfield’s major shareholder. He aided the Owls as chairman but caused controversy by calling a section of the support “scum” and “cretins”.
And there will be a first return for Leon Clarke, who had a bust-up with Paolo Di Canio at Swindon and has scored five goals on loan.
Clarke’s final game for Wednesday was the relegation decider against Crystal Palace: he equalised and dislocated a toe by kicking an advertising board in his celebration and had to go off.