Steve Clarke certain that Elliot Anderson is committed to Scotland

Steve Clarke certain that Elliot Anderson is committed to Scotland after handing Newcastle midfielder his first call-up to senior squad – just a year after he considered switching allegiance to England

  • Steve Clarke has called Elliot Anderson up to the Scotland squad for first time
  • Newcastle midfielder previously considered switching allegiance to England 
  • Would Mohamed Salah ‘do the dirty’ on Liverpool by leaving? And what about Man United ‘diving’?: Listen to It’s All Kicking Off , Mail Sport’s new podcast

Steve Clarke has secured assurances over the commitment of Elliot Anderson after the Newcastle midfielder finally opted to play for Scotland over England.

Anderson has been called into the senior squad for the Euro 2024 qualifier against Cyprus and the 150th anniversary friendly against England.

Despite pulling on a dark blue jersey at Under-16, Under-17 and Under-18s level, the 20-year-old played a training-ground friendly for England Under-19s against Arsenal Under-23s in 2021.

And, after his only Scotland Under-21s appearance against Belgium in June 2022, the Magpies star agonised over switching his allegiance to England.

A late substitute in all three of Newcastle’s Premier League matches this season, however, Anderson could make his senior debut in next week’s vital Euro 2024 qualifier in Larnaca.

Elliot Anderson has been called up to the Scotland senior squad for the first time for upcoming games against Cyprus and England

Steve Clarke has received assurances that Anderson is committed to playing for Scotland long-term

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‘We’ve had good conversations and I know how much he wants to be involved with the squad, which is great,’ said Clarke.

‘He is doing well with his club, which is obviously a difficult first team to break into, but he’s utilised often off the bench and had a fantastic pre-season. I think he’s in a really good place, so it’s a good time to bring him into the squad.

‘I’m very pleased that he is committed. I don’t think it was such a difficult decision for him in the end. He knows we value him and how much we want him to be part of the squad.

‘I always like to have an element of the squad that can be part of the future and Elliot is one for now and the future.

‘We are showing there is a pathway through for the young boys and there is a chance to come through and play for the national team.’

The latest FIFA rules allow players under the age of 21 to change their mind if they’ve played three competitive games or less and have been inactive at international level for three years or more. Confident that the youngster wants to play for the birth place of his grandmother Ann, Clarke dismissed any concerns over the time it took to commit to Scotland after a dalliance with the land of his birth.

‘He hasn’t had a change of allegiance,’ he said. ‘He went to an England training camp and then played for Scotland Under-21s. He gets to a certain age when he has a choice.

‘You have to weigh up what you want to do. He took his time to weigh it up and he has come down on our side. I’m pretty pleased.’

Anderson has featured for both Scotland and England at international youth level


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The Scotland boss, who refused to give the new boy any rock-solid guarantee of minutes on the pitch in the forthcoming double-header, believes the national team’s 100-per-cent record in Euro 2024 qualifying makes them an attractive proposition.

‘If he can get minutes on the pitch then great,’ continued Clarke. ‘If not and it is still a successful camp, he learns from being within the camp, so that’s good.

‘The success the boys have been achieving regularly will tell you that it’s a good place to be. It’s a good squad and we are in a good moment.

‘You look at the names on that list — there are some pretty good names. We have shown we can be very competitive against the top teams in Europe, which is what we want to be, so why would you not want to choose Scotland?’

Clarke believes Scotland’s strong start to Euro 2024 qualifying is encouraging players like Anderson to commit to his squad

Clarke also considered a call-up for 17-year-old Liverpool winger Ben Doak. The former Celtic kid’s strong displays in pre-season prompted speculation over a rapid promotion from the Under-21s team.

An unused substitute in recent league games, talks between Clarke and the SFA ended in an agreement to keep him in the Under-21s and gain more game time.

‘Ben’s another one who is doing very well at his club,’ said Clarke. ‘If you are involved at a club like Liverpool, then you are doing well.

‘Ben, if he continues to do what he’s doing, will be involved in the future. I wouldn’t worry too much that.’

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