Scotland fear they will miss out on Manchester United’s Lancaster-born midfielder Scott McTominay.
The 20-year-old failed to feature in the Scotland Under-21s squad named last week for their European Championship opener.
That has led to speculation that the talented youngster may not commit to the country of his grandparents, as he had previously hinted.
Former Preston loan midfielder Scot Gemmill, the Scotland Under-21s coach, said McTominay had “asked for time” before deciding on his international future.
Gemmill maintained this was related to his focus being on United after he made his debut for the Old Trafford side at the end of last season, and then having his potential singled out by boss Jose Mourinho after impressing in a pre-season tournament against Real Madrid.
The 6ft 4in McTominay was expected to be a big player for the young Scots during a tough group campaign that will see them host the Netherlands on September 5.
They then face an away game against England the following month, and the group also features Ukraine, Latvia and Andorra.
Last season, McTominay told United’s website that, with his dad’s side of the family all Scottish and Scottish elements in his mum’s side: “I’m probably more Scottish than I am English.”
McTominay may now be having second thoughts on that score.
“I have been down to Manchester to see him play, I’ve spoken to United coach Ricky Sbragia and the player has asked for more time,” said Gemmill, who played seven games for North End in 2004.
“Up until this moment we have done everything we can to let him know how committed we are to getting him involved.
“We have to respect the player’s opinion, he’s trying very hard to get into the first team at one of the best and biggest clubs in the world so he has a lot going on.
“He’s asked us to give him a little bit more time and we are respectful of that but we are confident we have done everything we can to let him know how wanted he is.”
Meanwhile, Leyland lad Phil Jones can be Mourinho’s ideal centre-back at United, provided he stays fit.
“Phil’s potentially a very good player,” Mourinho said.
“He’s still young. But for years and years and years he was injury-prone. He has a problem now. He’s complaining about an ankle problem.”