Real Madrid’s Tartan Wonderkid

by Martin Campbell

Only one Scotsman has ever played for Real Madrid throughout the clubs entire history. Club records show Hamilton born John Fox Watson played a single game in the 1948 Spanish La Liga season: a 3-1 defeat away to Celta Vigo. Since then, nada.

However that may change in the next few seasons. A 14 year old Scot by the name of Jack Harper is working his way through the Real Madrid youth teams and his very highly regarded by the coaching staff.

Born in Malaga to Scottish parents, Jack was picked up by Real Madrid after their scouts spotted him playing with successful local level club Los Boliches. After undergoing a three-week trial with Real in the summer of 2009 he was one of four lads offered a 12-month deal.

Real Madrid youth coach Santiago Sanchez rates young midfielder Harper highly. “Time will tell how far Jack will go, but I think without doubt he is one of the hottest prospects to play for Real Madrid in the near future. He has a lot of talent and while he has a lot of developing to do, I really believe he will play for Real Madrid in years to come.” It would also appear the talent runs in the family as older brother Ryan also plays his football in Spain. The 23 year old signed for Real Betis at the beginning of the season.

So high praise indeed for young Jack. News of his potential, progress and eligibility hit these shores last summer when Scotland youth coach Alex Mathie called Harper up for a training session at Largs after he was alerted by contacts in Spain.

Thankfully there doesn’t appear to be much chance of the youngster defecting to the nation of his birth. Jack’s father John said: “There are Saltires in the house and Jack feels 100 per cent Scottish. It won’t be an issue if the Spanish make contact – Jack is Scotland daft”.

Glad to hear it.

There maybe quite a few years to go until we see if Jack Harper makes the grade, but progress is encouraging so far. Who knows maybe Scotland will have its second ever Real Madrid player by the time the World Cup in Brazil comes around.

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