Stark recruits English youngsters for Scotland

Manager Billy Stark unveils the Scotland U21 squad
Manager Billy Stark unveils the Scotland U21 squad© SNS

Billy Stark has named a 22-man squad for Scotland’s Under-21 side’s friendly with Sweden on August 11. With the A squad in Stockholm on the same night, Stark’s team will welcome their counterparts over to Paisley for the match.

Hull City midfielder Tom Cairney, who impressed after breaking into the Tigers’ team in the second half of last season, is promoted from the Under-19s squad to take part in the match. 19-year-old Cairney, who was born in Nottingham to a Scottish father, has also been tipped for a possible England call-up.

Chris Mitchell, Scott Arfield, Paul Coutts, Stephen McGinn, Leigh Griffiths and Rory Loy are absent from the squad which drew 2-2 with Azerbaijan in March, with Grant Adam, Grant Hanley, Cairney, Bradden Inman, Barry Bannan and Scott Gallacher taking their spots in the squad.

Danny Wilson is also in the squad following his two million-plus move from Rangers to Liverpool.

Speaking about his decision to call up English-based players, Stark said: “They have all performed well for us at under-19s. They are all at different levels for their clubs, but first-team level in England is a pretty high standard."

Inman, who was born in Adelaide but has a Scottish mother, has received persistent interest from his native country but the player insists his loyalty lies with Scotland.

Stark said: "He scored late on for the under-19s against Belgium and scored in the qualifiers against Austria.

"I know the Australians are chasing him hard and there's nothing we can do about that. We can only progress him as quickly as we can, on merit.”

He added: "He's a smashing boy and he gives you the impression he's enjoying it."

Stark also confirmed interest in 20-year-old Huddersfield striker Jordan Rhodes after he netted 23 goals for the League One side last season.

Speaking about the player who qualified through the five-year schooling rule, he said: “He's on the radar, absolutely. He was born in 1990 so he's available for the next campaign.

"He qualifies for us but Huddersfield are involved in the Carling Cup so there is no need to look at him for this one."

Stark was reluctant to talk about whether Rhodes had pledged his allegiance to Scotland but said he will continue to pursue his interest.

"I don't want to go too deep in into it because it's a minefield but there is a bit of encouragement there," the former Celtic and Aberdeen midfielder said.

"We have been keeping tabs on him for a while."

Following their August 11 match, the Under-21s will play their final two games in the qualifiers for the 2011 European Championships, travelling to play third placed Belarus on September 3, before playing host to group leaders Austria at Pittodrie on September 7.

Scotland Under-21 squad to play Sweden on August 11:

Goalkeepers: Grant Adam (Rangers), Jamie Barclay (Falkirk), Scott Gallacher (Rangers/Forfar Athletic), Alan Martin (Leeds United).

Defenders: Paul Caddis (Celtic), Brian Easton (Burnley), Grant Hanley (Blackburn Rovers), Paul Hanlon (Hibernian), Ross Perry (Rangers), Thomas Scobbie (Falkirk), Danny Wilson (Liverpool).

Midfield: Tom Cairney (Hull City), Murray Davidson (St Johnstone), Bradden Inman (Newcastle United), Kevin McDonald (Burnley), Andrew Shinnie (Rangers), David Wotherspoon (Hibernian).

Forwards: Barry Bannan (Aston Villa), James Forrest (Celtic), David Goodwillie (Dundee United), Chris Maguire (Aberdeen), Jamie Murphy (Motherwell).

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