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Dundee United striker Lawrence Shankland will never give up the fight to be part of Clarke’s Euros plans

© Craig Foy / SNS GroupLawrence Shankland in action for Dundee United
Lawrence Shankland in action for Dundee United

Lawrence Shankland is shrewd enough to realise that his personal fortunes are intertwined with those of his club.

The striker is desperate to pull on the dark blue of Scotland at this summer’s Euros, but knows it may come down to how he and Dundee United fare over the remainder of the season.

The Scottish Cup has become the priority after the Tannadice side failed to make the top six, and a win over Aberdeen at Pittodrie this afternoon will send them into the semi-finals.

Shankland wants to impress national boss, Steve Clarke, after not being picked for the last Scotland squad, and he hopes helping United reach the last four and beyond will enhance his international chances.

He said: “We were disappointed to miss out on the top six. The best we can get now is seventh, which doesn’t really get you anything.

“So the Cup is an opportunity for us to try to get some silverware. First and foremost, we have to get past Aberdeen to get a place at Hampden.

“If we do that and go on a longer cup run, then that’s going to be good for the team, and also good for me. Hopefully, I can play a part in us getting to the latter stages.

“If I’m playing well and helping the team, that ought to put me in a good position and keep me in Steve Clarke’s thoughts.

“It definitely helps your chances if the team you’re playing in is doing well. That improves you personally.

“You look at Hibs. They’re a team that tends to score a lot of goals and create a lot of chances. That definitely helps you as a striker if you’re up there and in about that.

“But as a Dundee United player, I can only play my part in the plan that the team has.

“Of course I want to be involved at the Euros. Hopefully, by the time the summer comes, my best is good enough and I can be in the manager’s thoughts.”

Clarke got in touch with Shankland ahead of the last squad announcement to tell him he wouldn’t be included.

It looks like the former Dons and Ayr United man will now need to do something special over the last four or five games to fight his way back into contention.

But Shankland doesn’t want to put too much pressure on himself.

He added: “Steve called me when I wasn’t involved in the last squad, and we had a good chat. He just told me his thoughts and it’s up to me now to go and prove myself.

“There are a lot of players out there, and at that time there were a good few on form. That was how it panned out and I missed out.

“I’m not going to pile pressure on myself that I don’t need. I’ll do my best, and if people see it as I’ve done something special to get myself in, then ideal.

“If I miss out and I have done my best, then that’s all I can do.”

Shankland has a year remaining on his United contract and recently signed up with a new representative to test the waters.

He revealed: “I was with my last agent for a wee while, and just felt it might be time to freshen things up and try a new avenue.

“I am coming into the last year of my contract here, and sometimes you just need to have a look and see if there’s options, use somebody else’s phone book.

“We’ll see if anything comes up, but I am confident with them looking after me.”