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Clarke says Elliot Anderson needs time to decide between Scotland or England

Steve Clarke has called on Newcastle United’s Elliot Anderson to be given “time and space” to decide whether his international future lies with Scotland or England.

The 20-year-old Anderson, who is English by birth, was selected by Clarke for Scotland’s September double-header. Anderson withdrew from the squad after two training sessions amid suggestions he was having second thoughts about playing for Scotland. Anderson represented England between Under-16 and Under-19 level and made one appearance for Scotland’s Under-21s.

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Anderson is a notable absentee from the Scotland squad revealed by Clarke on Wednesday for matches with Spain and France. “Elliot is a young man making his way in the game,” said Clarke. “He has a big decision to make international-wise. Let’s just give the boy a little time and space to make that decision.” The England manager, Gareth Southgate, said of Anderson last month: “We liked him and we do like him. He’s a player that’s doing really well.”

Clarke has made plain he has no interest in pursuing Anderson. “He left the last camp and we haven’t spoken since,” the Scotland manager said. “I haven’t picked him for this camp. I will move on and work with the players I have got.”

Pressed on whether Anderson has a likely career with Scotland, Clarke said: “If he doesn’t choose England, yes.” Clarke does, however, appear in the dark about Anderson’s thoughts. “I haven’t spoken to anybody about it so I don’t know,” he said.

Ben Doak has been named in the Scotland Under-21 squad for this month’s fixtures, with Clarke resisting calls to fast-track the Liverpool youngster into his group. “Ben is one we have our eye on,” Clarke said. “I had a chat with [the Under-21 manager] Scot Gemmill about it. I am a great believer that young players need minutes on the pitch. He will get minutes with the Under-21s. He has already played above his age grade anyway so it is good experience for him. He will go there and do well. The Under-21s being involved in the qualification mix would be another step in his development.”

READ:   Sam Underhill added to England’s World Cup squad to replace injured Jack Willis

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Kieran Tierney will sit out the Euro 2024 qualifier against Spain in Seville and the friendly against France in Lille. The Arsenal defender, on loan at Real Sociedad, picked up what Clarke described as “quite a significant injury” against Athletic Bilbao last weekend. “We will miss him but I know Kieran and he will work as hard as he possibly can to get back as soon as possible,” said Clarke. “We will be there to support him.”