Steve Clarke happy to have Elliot Anderson in his squad as he opts for Scotland

Elliot Anderson has won a Scotland call-up (Richard Sellers/PA)
Elliot Anderson has won a Scotland call-up (Richard Sellers/PA)

Steve Clarke revealed Newcastle midfielder Elliot Anderson had decided against switching allegiance to England following positive discussions with the Scotland manager ahead of his first senior call-up.

Anderson has been called into Clarke’s squad for the Euro 2024 qualifier against Cyprus and a friendly against England.

The 20-year-old has represented Scotland at under-16, under-17 and under-18 level and then played a training-ground friendly for England Under-19s against Arsenal Under-23s in 2021.

The attacking midfielder made a sole Scotland Under-21 appearance against Belgium in June 2022 before turning down further call-ups from Scot Gemmill as he considered his international future.

But Anderson was a surprise inclusion in Clarke’s squad after coming off the bench in all three of Newcastle’s Premier League matches this season.

Whitley Bay-born Anderson, who has a Scottish grandmother, is included ahead of the likes of David Turnbull, who has not been in recent squads but has been back in the Celtic team under Brendan Rodgers.

Clarke said: “Elliot has been through the under-age groups with Scotland, he is one we have had an eye on.

“He had a little think about choosing between Scotland and England. We had some good discussions with the boy and his family and he has chosen to come with us, which is good for us now and certainly good for us in the future.

Steve Clarke
Steve Clarke held talks with Elliot Anderson (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“He has been with us in general. Obviously when you get to a certain stage in your career and you can see your career is starting to take off, which Elliot’s is at Newcastle…We have got some great reports from people within the club at Newcastle, which is good to hear.

“Then you have to make that choice. Elliot was born in England, he has got decisions to make, and we are just happy he has come down on our side.

“He has been involved in the under-age, he has played in the under-21s, so he has chosen to stay with us and hopefully that turns out to be a good decision for Elliot and ourselves.

“I think it shows how well the boys that I have been picking on a regular basis have done. Qualification for Euro 2020 and obviously we are looking to qualify for another major tournament this time, and we hope we can continue to improve.

“I have always tried to look down towards the under-age groups, the under-21s, to try to give a pathway so that we are not just having a squad for now but looking to build a squad that will carry us through not just the next tournament but the tournament after that and the tournament after that. Elliot is part of that process.”

Ben Doak
Ben Doak has been featuring for Liverpool (Mike Egerton/PA)

Clarke also gave hope to Liverpool winger Ben Doak that the 17-year-old was not far off a full call-up.

“Anybody who is doing well for their club, especially at a club like Liverpool, playing off the bench in the English Premier League, they are always going to be close,” he said. “I just feel that on this occasion, it was the right time to bring in Elliot.

“Ben knows that we are watching him, he knows that he is part of the future, but he has to continue doing what he is doing at his club, and he has to continue playing well. If he does that, I’m sure his turn won’t be too far away.”

Che Adams
Che Adams is fit again (Steve Welsh/PA)

Che Adams is back in the 25-man squad after missing victories over Norway and Georgia in June through injury.

There are eight defenders in the squad, meaning several players drop out.

There is no place for Blackburn’s Dominic Hyam and Celtic full-backs Anthony Ralston and Greg Taylor but Nottingham Forest centre-back Scott McKenna returns following injury.

Leeds defender Liam Cooper drops out after being ruled out for eight weeks with a foot injury earlier this month, while Ross McCrorie misses out after being a late call-up in the summer.

Scotland are looking to continue their 100 per cent record in the Euro 2024 qualifiers when they take on Cyprus in Larnaca in their fifth group game on September 8.

They then host England at Hampden four days later in a game to mark the 150th anniversary of football’s first international in 1872.