What Happened To Ryan Gauld - The Player Dubbed 'The Scottish Messi'

Hearts' 17-year-old sensation Harry Cochrane is the latest wonderkid rising to fame in Scotland, but before him there was Ryan Gauld.

Gauld burst onto the scene with Dundee United back in 2012 and quickly became a creative maestro tipped for future stardom.

The attacking midfielder was dubbed the 'Scottish Messi' and by the age of 18 was already an ever-present in the Scottish top flight.

However, he decided to ditch his homeland for Portuguese giants Sporting back in 2014 and since then his career has taken a downward spiral.

Image: PA
Image: PA

The 22-year-old found himself out on loan with Desportivo Aves last season, who finished in 13th place in the Primeira Liga table, and his latest move suggests the early expectancy surrounding him appears to be miles off.

Gauld has once again been sent on a season-long loan, this time to Portuguese second tier side S.C Farense.

He is a fleet-footed attacker renowned for his technical ability, but for some reason or another, has not lived up to the hype since his move overseas and Scottish fans will be wondering why he has disappeared.

Gauld has made just five senior appearances for Sporting and loan spells at Vitoria Setubal, Desportivo and now Farense suggest he is still someway off, with just seven appearances this season for the latter.

Gauld
Gauld

The young Scotsman is certainly not the first player to fall into the trap of fading away after such a promising start in their career, where he scored nine goals and supplied 12 assists in 51 appearances for Dundee United.

Federico Macheda at Manchester United, Ghanian Freddy Adu, and even ex-Real Madrid player Royston Drenthe are all guilty of wasting such great potential.

Gauld certainly still have time to save his stuttering career, but at the age of 22 he can no longer be considered a young product and needs to start delivering at senior level.

A return to Scotland could be in his best interests to try rediscover his sparkling form, but he is not the only British player plying their trade across Europe.

Jadon Sancho and Reiss Nelson are two British players that are smashing it overseas, so there's still hope.

Should Gauld ditch Portugal and opt for a return to Scotland?

WORDS BY DOM TONER - Follow him on Twitter

Jack Kenmare

Jack Kenmare is a writer at SPORTbible. He's interviewed some huge names in the world of sport, including Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Pele, Carles Puyol and Tim Henman. He dabbles in all things sport, but football is his biggest passion. He was once hit in the head by a wayward strike from Nicky Butt and lived to tell the tale.

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