Women's football: Lana Clelland urges more Scottish players to test themselves abroad

Lana Clelland in action for Scotland
Lana Clelland has been playing in Italy since December 2014

Fiorentina striker Lana Clelland has urged more Scottish players to test themselves in a foreign league.

The former Rangers and Spartans player, 25, moved to Italy in 2014, enjoying spells with Bari and Tavagnacco.

Earlier this month she joined Fiorentina, and says her time abroad has made her a better player.

"I've improved on the pitch technically and tactically. Any player that moved to Italy would improve their technical side," said Clelland.

"It's not something you're brought up with in Scotland, it's not something that's part of the game."

Capped 21 times for Scotland, Clelland has scored more than 40 goals in the Italian top flight in the past three seasons.

Last season was disrupted by heel surgery after she finished the previous campaign top scorer in Serie A with 23 goals in 21 matches.

She has left Tavagnacco, who finished fourth, for Fiorentina, who finished a place above in third and qualified for the Women's Champions League.

Clelland is one of 18 players from the latest Scotland squad, for their recent World Cup qualifiers against Belarus and Poland, who play their club football outside Scotland.

Goalkeeper Shannon Lynn and forward Fiona Brown play in Sweden, while captain Rachel Corsie is in the USA with Utah Royals.

Christie Murray's move to Liverpool makes it 14 players from the squad playing in England's new professional super league.

Perth-born Clelland told BBC Scotland's Off the Ball: "Even if you're not guaranteed first team football you're learning a different style of football and you're giving yourself an experience that not many players get."

'Euro 2017 was massive. But a World Cup is 10 times that'

Clelland is also confident Scotland can overhaul Switzerland in their World Cup qualifying group and book their place in next summer's finals in France.

Should Shelley Kerr's side beat the Swiss by at least two goals when they meet in Paisley on 30 August, then follow that up with all three points away to Albania five days later, they will qualify for the World Cup for the first time.

Anything less will mean they will have to hope they are one of the four best runners-up in order to earn a place in a two-legged play-off. They are already assured of at least second place in the group.

Scotland reached Euro 2017 in the Netherlands last year - their first major tournament - before going out in the group stage.

"They [Switzerland] are top of the group just now, they beat us 1-0 away from home, but it was a close game - it wasn't all them," said Clelland.

"We were really unlucky not to take anything, especially from the second half.

"For women's football, especially qualifying for the finals the last time in Holland, was massive. But a World Cup is 10 times that."

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