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Steve Clarke says continuity is important ahead of World Cup qualifiers

By November 3, 2021No Comments

Steve Clarke stressed the importance of continuity after naming his Scotland squad for the forthcoming World Cup qualifying double-header against Moldova and Denmark.

With Ryan Christie and Lyndon Dykes suspended for the trip to Moldova, Stoke’s 23-year-old striker Jacob Brown won a first Scotland call-up, while St Johnstone goalkeeper Zander Clark replaced Motherwell’s Liam Kelly.

The goalkeeper change and the addition of Brown are the only differences in Clarke’s squad from last month for the games against Israel and Faroe Islands.

A win for Scotland in Moldova – which would be a fifth Group F victory in a row – guarantees a play-off spot and Clarke explained the familiarity of selection.

He said: “I think they have done alright, haven’t they?

“They are in a good place, working towards what our objective is now, which is to get to the play-offs in March.

“I think continuity is a good thing at this stage.

“There are always other players close. We look at everybody. Obviously I have to take a balanced view across the whole squad and decide what I want.

“You know by now that I quite like the continuity. I like boys who have been there before.

“This time I have gone with Jacob, but I could have gone for someone else.”

Clarke insists he has no real concerns over the lack of recent game time for Billy Gilmour and Nathan Patterson.

Chelsea’s 20-year-old midfielder Gilmour is on loan at Norwich but has not featured since playing for Scotland against the Faroe Islands on October 12.

Rangers right-back Patterson, 20, has had four minutes in Light Blue since the game in the Faroe Islands but Clarke is relaxed about the situation.

He said: “I think it is pretty similar to when Billy joined us in the summer for the Euros. He hadn’t had much club action and he didn’t do too bad at Wembley (against England).

“When he joined up in the last camp he didn’t have too much club action before that one either and he did alright in those games, so I am not overly concerned.

“I could just repeat what I said about Billy. Nathan got 90 minutes between the September and October camps and he didn’t do too badly when he played for us in October, so similar.

“Rangers have still got two games before we meet up and hopefully Nathan will get more game time before the squad comes together.”