Sheffield Wednesday defender Liam Palmer on life as a Scotland international and learning from Andrew Robertson

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It’s been a whirlwind introduction to international football for Sheffield Wednesday full-back Liam Palmer.

The Worksop-born defender has had a lot thrown at him since his first call-up to the Scotland squad in March, making his debut in a humiliating 3-0 defeat in Kazakhstan that effectively ended Alex McLeish’s managerial tenure.

The defeat was described by several Scottish media outlets as the national side’s worst-ever performance.

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And now McLeish is gone, former West Brom boss Steve Clarke is in the hot seat and has taken a liking to Palmer, who has started their last three matches, offering a solid performance in Saturday’s commendable 2-1 win in Cyprus.

Palmer and his Scotland team mates, despite a disastrous Euro 2020 qualifying campaign, will have the opportunity to take a spot in the tournament thanks to their place in the UEFA Nations League play-offs in March.

But first comes a clash with Kazakhstan at Hampden Park this evening, and an opportunity to signpost the direction of progress hinted at in Clarke’s brief tenure. Palmer, who is expected to make his fifth international appearance in the match, explained how much he was enjoying adapting to the experience of international football.

“Last year we went to Kazakhstan,” he told The Athletic. “It was a seven-hour flight and the time difference was crazy so it’s something you have to learn to deal with on the spot.

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“It’s a case of sometimes sleeping when you might not be that tired but know you need to get some in. To be fair, even when it is the international break, training is still tough whether I am here or with Scotland, so it’s not like I’d be having loads of days off if I wasn’t away.

Liam Palmer on international duty for Scotland against San MarinoLiam Palmer on international duty for Scotland against San Marino
Liam Palmer on international duty for Scotland against San Marino | JPIMedia

“It’s great to go up there and the facilities are great that they have got in Scotland, the gym facilities and the recovery time. We have got a chef on board so everything is catered to recovering and playing well.”

Palmer, who qualifies to play for Scotland through his late grandmother, has enjoyed his recent run in the side thanks in part to the absence of Arsenal defender Kieran Tierney in recent squads, though he admits that training with his like is making him a better player.

“Players like Scott McTominay and Andy Robertson are doing great and that’s another one of the reasons you want to go away, you want to play with the best players in world football. Obviously Andy has been in back-to-back Champions League finals and to say you share a dressing room with someone of that calibre is great, you learn a lot as a full-back as well.

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“He’s the captain and he leads by example on and off the pitch. It is a real inspiration to be around him, he has that relentless desire to perform at the top level. It’s something that you can draw upon and try and do yourself.

“Scott McTominay is playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world in Manchester United, and you’ve got a lot of other Premier League lads and Scottish Premiership lads that are doing well week-in, week-out too. It’s good to be involved in that group.”

And the effect of international football on his Wednesday availability? Unlike Steven Fletcher, who Palmer recently admitted has ruled himself out of Scotland duty for fitness reasons, the 28-year-old has no concerns.

He said: “At Wednesday especially, you have a well-being chart that you fill in with the physios every morning and everything is catered towards games coming three in a week, as they often are in the Championship.

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“Then on recovery, the physios are always in, even on their days off if you need them, and there’s the stuff in the gym so everything is there for you to do well.”

Scotland v Kazakhstan is available to watch on Sky Sports Football this evening, kick-off is at 19:45.