With the help of a four-day bootcamp in the Highlands involving 6km of running EVERY day and shooting drills, Lyndon Dykes has put the hard yards in as he helps to fire Scotland to a famous win over England at Euro 2020
He may have fluffed his opening lines against the Czechs but when Lyndon Dykes takes the stage at Wembley on Friday he’ll be aiming to fire Scotland to a major upset.
The bleached blond striker from Australia’s Gold Coast has been honing his shooting skills, appropriately amid the constant crackle of gunfire.
Determined to claim a role as Scotland’s No 9, Dykes put in the extra hours of training against the backdrop of Fort George, home of the Black Watch army battalion, in Scotland’s Highlands.
Scotland’s Lyndon Dykes has been putting in extra training sessions ahead of Euro 2020
And if he succeeds against England, a bit of credit will go to Neil McCann, the former Southampton winger who put Dykes through his paces on a four-day bootcamp at the training ground of Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
McCann has been here before of course. He played an integral role when Scotland last defeated England 1-0 at Wembley in 1999, crossing for Don Hutchison to score the decisive goal.
‘Lyndon has been working hard for this chance,’ says McCann. ‘He will be looking forward to it, this is what he has been working for.’
Dykes had finished the season as QPR’s top scorer with 12 goals and five assists, enough for the likes of London neighbours Fulham to take notice. However, his Championship season ended before many of his Scotland teammates and he sought extra work to stay sharp ahead of the Euros.
The QPR hitman has been in the Highlands on a four-day bootcamps in preparation
McCann stepped in and, with a bit of help from former Chelsea and Rangers striker Billy Dodds, Dykes was given a rugged runaround in the wilderness of the Highlands, 180 miles north of Glasgow.
‘The idea was we wanted to bank about 6km of running inside Lyndon every day,’ says McCann. ‘We wanted it to be high intensity and gave him a few drills, finishing, shooting from different angles. We’d give him a five second penalty if he missed, which would be added on to his training, and knock five seconds off if he scored.
‘I’ve been working as caretaker manager at Caley so it was good of them to give us access to their facilities up in the highlands and next to the army barracks at Fort George where the Black Watch guys are training so you can hear their guns going off too as they go through their own routines. It keeps you on your toes.’
After moving to QPR from Livingston last year for £2million, Dykes has settled in a new home that is just a healthy goal kick away from Wembley. There is no doubt he’d love nothing more than to upset the neighbours on Friday with a matchwinning performance against England.
Dykes though struggled in Scotland’s opening game, missing key chances against the Czech Republic where his side went down 2-0 in Hampden Park
‘It can be done, for sure,’ says McCann. ‘I know from experience if Scotland get the right intensity into their performance they can get a result there.
‘Whether it was the reality of the tournament hitting them or whatever I’m not sure but the performance against Czech Republic wasn’t a true reflection.
‘We didn’t see the best of John McGinn and Scott McTominay and I think against England I’d like to see Billy Gilmour start as he is fearless. I’d also like to see them utilise Jack Hendry better bringing the ball out of defence.’
McCann knows too that Dykes will be ready to make amends for the opportunities he missed at Hampden.
Dykes will be hoping to find a goal scoring touch when Scotland face England on Friday night
‘Lyndon missed two chances and I know analysing those he could maybe have done better. He won’t be fazed though.
‘Lyndon doesn’t get flustered. I don’t know whether it’s the Australian in him that brings the laid-back nature to his character but if he misses a chance, he doesn’t get uptight about it. There’s a calmness about him.
‘He’s well motivated and I think he’ll work well in tandem with Che Adams. If those two start, they’ll cause England problems.
‘The result at Hampden will focus their minds they know they need a result and I think those two can help cause an upset.’
Dykes will be certainly hoping his Highland fling pays off.