Che Adams has been called up to Steve Clarke’s Scotland squad for this month’s World Cup qualifiers.
The Southampton striker, 24, has been capped by England Under-20s but qualifies for Scotland through the grandparent rule. Uncapped Kevin Nisbet and Jack Hendry are also included.
Clarke’s side face Austria at home on 25 March, Israel away three days later and Faroe Islands at home on 31 March.
“It actually happened very late,” Clarke said of Adams on Sky Sports.
“Che’s obviously someone that we tried to get before – when Alex McLeish was manager, I believe – four years ago now. He was a young man at the time. He’s matured a little bit more, played a few more games, got his move to the Premier League and done very well.
“Not too long ago, I got a little inkling or a little tip off that he was interested in choosing Scotland as his international country.”
Defender Hendry – one of three right-footed defenders from a pool of 10 in Clarke’s squad – is on loan at Belgian side KV Oostende from Celtic while forward Nisbet has scored 14 times for Hibernian this season.
“Jack’s a player that I’ve known from my time working in Scotland,” added former Kilmarnock boss Clarke. “He’s shown a good maturity. He’s gone away to try and restart his career. He’s playing at a good level, game in, game out.
“Kevin’s shown this year that he’s a good goalscorer. I feel Kevin’s got the bit between his teeth. It’s an area where we don’t particularly excel – scoring goals. Hopefully Kevin can give us a little bit different.”
Adams has scored seven goals this season with his third in three games coming in Southampton’s weekend defeat by Brighton.
By contrast, Lyndon Dykes – Scotland’s main striker in recent games, who is also in the squad – has not scored in 20 games since November and has been relegated to the bench in four of Queens Park Rangers’ past five games.
Sheffield United’s Scottish attacking duo Oli Burke and Oli McBurnie have three goals between them this season and only Burke has netted for his country – once. McBurnie retains his place in Clarke’s group.
There is, however, no room for Celtic’s Leigh Griffiths, Dundee United forward Lawrence Shankland or Parkhead midfielder David Turnbull, with the latter tipped by many to be in contention for a maiden call up to the senior squad.
Clarke said Turnbull was “one for the future” while those who had dropped out of the squad “know what they need to to get back in”.
This month’s opening qualifiers for Qatar 2022 are Scotland’s last scheduled matches before their European Championship games with Czech Republic, England and Croatia at this summer’s finals.
“Really important games coming up for the World Cup,” said Clarke. “We don’t want to be a squad that qualifies for one major tournament and then have to wait another 23 years for the next one.”
Goalkeepers: Craig Gordon (Hearts), David Marshall (Derby), Jon McLaughlin (Rangers)
Defenders: Andrew Considine (Aberdeen), Declan Gallagher (Motherwell), Grant Hanley (Norwich City), Jack Hendry (KV Oostende), Scott McKenna (Nottingham Forest), Stephen O’Donnell (Motherwell), Liam Palmer (Sheffield Wednesday), Andy Robertson (Liverpool), Greg Taylor (Celtic), Kieran Tierney (Arsenal)
Midfielders: Stuart Armstrong (Southampton), Ryan Christie (Celtic), John Fleck (Sheffield United), Ryan Jack (Rangers), John McGinn (Aston Villa), Callum McGregor (Celtic), Kenny McLean (Norwich City), Scott McTominay (Manchester United)
Forwards: Che Adams (Southampton), Lyndon Dykes (Queens Park Rangers), Ryan Fraser (Newcastle), Oli McBurnie (Sheffield United), Kevin Nisbet (Hibernian)