Ryan Gauld feeling settled at Sporting Lisbon following summer move
Last Updated: 09/10/14 8:07pm
Ryan Gauld is enjoying life at Sporting Lisbon and is pleased to have shaken off his 'Mini Messi' tag.
The 18-year-old found himself thrust under the spotlight after making the breakthrough at Dundee United, with an impressive start to his senior career generating plenty of hype.
He learned to deal with the attention, but admits that coverage and expectation levels caught him by surprise.
Taking the decision to accept a new challenge in Portugal over the summer saw him generate further headlines, but the talented playmaker has taken it all in his stride and is happy to have slipped back into the shadows at a European heavyweight – with Sporting easing him into the fold through their B team.
Gauld told the Daily Record ahead of European qualifying duty with the senior Scotland squad: “I’ve managed to escape from the Mini Messi tag, which I’m glad of.
“It was a little bit strange and came about just because I’m small and left footed. That’s the comparison and again it was made only after about four or five games for United.
“I don’t have a nickname at Sporting yet. No-one in the Scotland squad has said anything about it yet, which I’m quite glad about. I thought something might have been said.
“I’m really glad that I’m away from the hype which surrounded me. I’d only played a few games for United when there were rumours and stories about other clubs being interested.
“It didn’t affect me but it was beyond belief it was happening after just a couple of games.
“To be over in Portugal now and starting again is really good for me. The main reason I chose to go abroad was the style of football is something I’ve always liked. I also wanted to learn another language and see how things are done elsewhere.
“I’m in Sporting’s Champions League squad, which is every first team player and a couple of home-grown youngsters.”
Gauld added on his early experiences at Sporting: “By playing in the B team I’m getting used to the club and the football.
“The Second Division is not a big thing in Portugal. Our B team games don’t have huge attendances, there is no focus on it. At the same time, there is no pressure on you from the stands.
“We’ll take it slowly and see when the time is right for me to get to the first team.”