World Cup qualifiers

Clarke hands first call-up to Stoke City striker

Steve Clarke

Play-off target: Steve Clarke (pic: SNS Group)

Scotland boss Steve Clarke has called up Stoke City front man Jacob Brown for the first time for the World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Denmark.

The 23-year-old striker gets his opportunity with QPR’s Lyndon Dykes suspended for the Group F clash in Chisinau on Friday, 12 November.

Powerful with pace, Brown has scored four goals and has four assists to his name in the Championship this season for Michael O’Neill’s Stoke.

The forward comes from Yorkshire but qualifies through his mother.

“He’s been on the radar for quite a while here,” Clarke said. “He almost got an U21 call-up just before Covid hit.

“Jacob’s had a good spell at Stoke and caught my eye. He’ll bring us something a little bit different and freshen up the striking area because we’re losing Lyndon and Ryan Christie for the first game.

“He’s playing as a striker, playing up front in a 3-5-2, he can play as the lone striker. He puts defenders on the back foot, he’s quick, direct. If you’re playing against Jacob as a defender you know you’re in a game.”

St Johnstone goalkeeper Zander Clark has also been in fine form this season and earns a place in the 25-man squad at the expense of Motherwell’s Liam Kelly.

A win in Moldova on 12 November will guarantee Scotland’s place in the play-offs for next year’s World Cup in Qatar, though Clark will also be without the suspended Ryan Christie for the game.

The Scots’ final qualifier is against Denmark on Monday, 15 November at Hampden Park.

Scotland squad: Goalkeepers – Zander Clark (St Johnstone), Craig Gordon (Hearts), Jon McLaughlin (Rangers). Defenders – Liam Cooper (Leeds United), Grant Hanley (Norwich City), Jack Hendry (Club Brugge), Stephen O’Donnell (Motherwell), Nathan Patterson (Rangers), Andy Robertson (Liverpool), Kieran Tierney (Celtic). Midfielders – Stuart Armstrong (Southampton), Lewis Ferguson (Aberdeen), Billy Gilmour (Norwich City), John McGinn (Aston Villa), Callum McGregor (Celtic), Kenny McLean (Norwich City), Scott McTominay (Manchester United), David Turnbull (Celtic). Forwards – Che Adams (Southampton), Jacob Brown (Stoke City), Ryan Christie (Bournemouth), Lyndon Dykes (QPR), Ryan Fraser (Newcastle Utd).

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