Jacob Brown ‘absolutely buzzing’ for first Scotland call-up – Steve Clarke

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Steve Clarke revealed Stoke striker Jacob Brown was “absolutely buzzing” when told of his first Scotland call-up for the final two group games of their World Cup qualifying campaign.

With Ryan Christie and Lyndon Dykes suspended for the trip to Moldova on November 12, before the home game against already-qualified Denmark three days later, Clarke sprang a surprise by bringing in 23-year-old English-born Brown.

Brown has been added to a forward contingent in a 25-man squad which also features Che Adams, Kevin Nisbet and Ryan Fraser as Scotland look for the win against Moldova which will clinch a play-off spot.

The new addition has scored four goals in 19 appearances for Sky Bet Championship club Stoke this season, and Clarke said: “Jacob was absolutely buzzing when I called him to tell him he was involved. Really, really excited. It was a little bit of luck finding out Jacob’s mum was born in Glasgow.

“He has come up the hard way, released by Sheffield Wednesday as a young kid.

“He made his way back in through the non-league, not a dissimilar journey to the one that Che Adams made, so hopefully he can do as well for us as Che has done.

“He puts defenders on the back foot. He is quick, direct. If you are playing against Jacob as a defender you will know you are in a game.

“He is a good character, he has a lot of good references and I look forward to meeting him in person and working with him on the training pitch.”

Clarke revealed Brown had been “on the radar for quite a while”.

The former West Brom and Kilmarnock boss said: “He almost got an Under-21 call-up just before Covid hit.

“He has done really well at Stoke, playing as a striker in a 3-5-2, he can play as the lone striker.

“He has four goals and four assists in the Championship this year, I know that is a tough league.

“I just feel that with Lyndon and Ryan Christie being suspended for the first game, it is a chance to bring Jacob into the squad.”

St Johnstone v Rangers – cinch Premiership – McDiarmid Park
St Johnstone’s Zander Clark returns to Scotland’s squad (Ian Rutherford/PA).

St Johnstone goalkeeper Zander Clark replaces Motherwell’s Liam Kelly, while Arsenal left-back Kieran Tierney has been selected despite an ankle injury.

The goalkeeper change and addition of Brown are the only differences in the Scotland squad from last month.

Clarke said: “I had Zander and Liam both in the squad in September. They both did well. I had to make a difficult decision last month, I went with Liam, this month I have gone with Zander. It gives myself and Chris Woods (goalkeeping coach) a chance to look at two goalkeepers who are probably the up-and-coming among the older bunch if you like.

“It is just another chance to look at Zander, his form at his club has been good recently and he deserves his place in the squad.”

On Tierney, who has missed Arsenal’s last three matches, Clarke said: “He is injured, he is working on it and hopefully he will do a bit of training and be fine to join up with us.”

Meanwhile, Clarke paid tribute to former Scotland, Rangers and Everton manager Walter Smith who died last week aged 73.

Walter Smith File Photo
Scotland boss Steve Clarke paid tribute to Walter Smith (Lynne Cameron/PA)

The former Scotland international said: “Obviously very sad for Walter’s family, first and foremost.

“He is not someone I came across very often in the game but any time I did I found him to be a really good man, good humour, also insightful, with good advice at the right times.

“I actually came across Walter when I was playing for Scotland Under-19s in the World Cup in Mexico in the early 1980s and he was there as coach to Andy Roxburgh.

“I found him good fun, a good coach and a good personality, a good man and it was the same all through. Any time you bumped into Walter he always had time for a good conversation and he would always leave you with a smile on your face. He was a good man, he will be sadly missed.”

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