Norwich City ace relishing the biggest stage of his career
PUBLISHED: 08:21 29 May 2018 | UPDATED: 15:58 11 June 2018
Kenny McLean aims to finish his season on a high in front of 87,000 fans at the famous Azteca Arena in Mexico.
The Norwich City midfielder is bidding to add to his three Scotland caps during a two date friendly tour, which starts in the early hours of Wednesday morning against Peru, before a daunting trip to tackle the hosts at the venue of the 1986 World Cup final.
Both countries are using the Scots’ long haul visit as preparation for their World Cup bow in Russia later this summer - but McLean has his own agenda.
“You want to be involved in massive games in big stadiums,” said the 26-year-old, who will link up with the Canaries for pre-season after an impressive campaign at Aberdeen.
“To get the chance to represent your country in such an iconic stadium against a team which will have fans right behind them is a huge honour.
“There is not much bigger than playing in the Azteca.
“ will be a great game to be involved in if I get the chance and hopefully I do.
“It will be the biggest crowd by far that we have played in front of.
“Obviously, Celtic Park is the biggest we will get in Scotland so playing in those kind of arenas is excellent for everyone that will be involved.
“It is two massive internationals.
“With both sides going to the World Cup shortly after, their fans will be right up for it and I am sure their players will be massively up for it.”
McLean aims to become a big part of Alex McLeish’s set up for the new Uefa Nations League tournament, which starts later this year.
“I’ve had a taste of it and every Scottish player would say the same, ‘this is the pinnacle’ to represent your country,” he said. “This is an opportunity and all these young boys will be thinking the same thing.
“We know the quality is there. I want as many minutes on the pitch.
“To play in south America and play football is something different. To play in sell-out stadiums is big.
“We are not here to just make up the numbers. We want to bring the squad together and get some momentum for the next two years.”
McLean’s former Dons’ team mate and City academy product, Joe Lewis, is tipping the midfielder to be a huge hit at Carrow Road.
“Norwich is a big club but Kenny is a big player so he will fit in there no problem,” said Lewis, speaking to the Press and Journal. “I am delighted for him, the supporters there like to see good players so they will take to him.
“Kenny always gives one hundred percent so he won’t have any problems coping with the demands of the Championship either.
“The club has been going through a bit of a transition, they have been getting the higher earners out of the club and rebuilding.
“They have been trying to make shrewd signings of quality players, which is something they have certainly done with Kenny.
“It will be very interesting to see how he does,
“I’m a Norwich fan so I always look for their results anyway but I will be watching Kenny to see how he gets on. He is a good mate and he’s been picking my brains about the club, asking where to live and what the club is like.
“I’m sure he will move down there with his girlfriend and be happy.”