Why unexpected UEFA rule change could change the career of key Sheffield Wednesday man
It’s the rule tweak that will offer 72 footballers the career highlight that may never have otherwise been possible.
While UEFA’s announcement that squads for the forthcoming European Championships would be increased in size from 23 names to 26 may not have raised more than a half-hearted shrug from most, you can guarantee there were a number of professionals to whom it has given new hope.
One of those is surely Sheffield Wednesday forward Callum Paterson, who was a surprise omission from Steve Clarke’s Scotland squad last month in their last round of competitive matches before the Championships this summer.
The versatile 26-year-old, who has been one of the Owls’ top performers this year, was left out with rival forwards Che Adams and Kevin Nisbet were given debut call-ups.
But with the squad increased by three, it will be hoped that Paterson, who can also play in midfield and as a wing-back, will make the squad alongside likely picked Wednesday teammate Liam Palmer.
“It’s a massive part of my thinking,” he told The Star when asked about the Euros earlier this season. “I’ve always said it’s the pinnacle of all football, playing in those tournaments. For me, if that’s not what you want to do, there’s no point in playing.
“My country has finally qualified for a major tournament, with me being around. It’s a massive achievement.
“To be selected would just be the icing on the cake for me. I’ve given everything I can and it’s not up to me at the end of the day. I’ve got to do everything I can to be there.”
Paterson said that both he and Palmer discuss Scotland regularly, with a spot in the final squad all the motivation they need. His involvement in their qualification against Serbia is ranked as an obvious career highlight.
“There are only so many players that can go.” he said. “We always keep ourselves ticking over and hopefully the both of us can be selected and go and represent our country.
“It’s been a long time since the group have qualified and it’s a group of boys that have been together a lot that have done it.
“That night meant a lot that night, incredible scenes. The main thing is that we qualified and now it’s about being selected.”