AT the age of just 21, Alan Campbell may still be a youngster in many people’s eyes but he is not, he insists, a “little boy” anymore.

With 17 under-21 caps to his name, Campbell is one of the more seasoned campaigners in Scot Gemmill’s Scotland squad which will take on Lithuania on Thursday evening before facing the Czech Republic on Monday in vital European Under-21 Championship qualifiers. And the experience the midfielder has gained as a first team regular at Motherwell means he is not scared of making his feelings known on the park, regardless of who is next to him.

“I’m quite quiet off the park but I’ve very vocal on the park,” he said.

“I like to be a leader on the park. When you’re younger you can’t be placed into the first team environment and be a little boy. You have to stand up and be counted. If someone is not doing their job you need to be able tell them.

“They are not going to shout back because it’s a team game and you have to be doing your job. You cannot be shy.”

Gemmill’s squad are in good form having taken maximum points from their opening two games with victories over San Marino and Croatia. There is still, though, a long way to go before a place at the finals can be confirmed and Campbell is quick to quell any mention of qualification just yet.

“Reaching the finals would be an incredible achievement but I think we are just focusing on starting the campaign well, which we have done with two great results,” he said.

“Now we need to keep going. But I’m sure we will be set up and organised and carry out the manager’s game plan. I think you have to take each game as it comes.”

Campbell’s reputation has grown immeasurably in recent months and he admits that while playing for the under-21s is a great honour, winning a full international cap is what he has his sights on.

“It is my dream to play for Scotland. It means a lot to get called into the 21s but the next step would make me even prouder,” he said.

“As a young boy you always want to represent your country. I would love to gain that first full international cap. Hopefully I get the chance to make that dream come true.”

Motherwell has made a name for itself as a team which nurtures young talent from their early days right through until they make a breakthrough into the international set-up.

Campbell’s club has produced a number of great international players, with James McFadden one who made a significant mark in a Scotland shirt and the midfielder admits that being in such close contact with the Motherwell legend has helped his career significantly.

“Faddy was a great inspiration to me at Motherwell as he came back and played for a few years and he was the assistant manager at the club.

“He helped me make that transition into the first team and he was great for me. Faddy saw something in me and he knew that I always tried to be myself

“I was lucky he guided me during my career and he is a brilliant guy. Faddy always told me to go out and express myself on the park and don’t be scared and just be confident and show people how good you are.”

And Campbell is hopeful that just as he watched the likes of McFadden progress through the ranks, the young Motherwell players with take inspiration from him and his peers.

“A lot of young boys can also see the likes of myself, David Turnbull, Barry Maguire and Chris Cadden in the Motherwell first team and getting into the Scotland under 21 side and making an impact after coming through the academy.”