Hamilton boss tips Michael Devlin for future Scotland call

Michael Devlin is the current club captain of Hamilton Accies. Picture: SNS

Michael Devlin is the current club captain of Hamilton Accies. Picture: SNS

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Martin Canning reckons Scotland need look no further than Michael Devlin to solve their defensive problems.

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The nightmare start made by Gordon Strachan’s side to the World Cup qualifying campaign has shone a light on the worrying lack of options the national team boss has to call on at the back.

Strachan has been forced to rely heavily on the likes of Grant Hanley and Russell Martin in recent years but now the Tartan Army are asking where the next generation of centre-backs are coming from.

But Accies boss Canning is surprised no-one has put forward his club captain as a potential future international.

He said: “People have spoken a lot about Scotland’s defensive problems. They have been asking questions about where are all the young centre-backs yet I haven’t seen Michael Devlin’s name mentioned once.

“He’s just turned 23 and is captain of a Premiership club but people haven’t even talked about him in terms of his potential to win a call up.

“I’m not saying he’s ready now but at some point in the future, if he continues to develop the way he is, then hopefully that will be another good player we can put forward for Scotland duty.

“He had a bad knee injury last year and only came back into the team at the tail end of last season. Now he’s got to go play a full season, keep himself fit and if he has a good season, you never know.

“But he’s definitely got the potential to make that step up and do good things.

“He reads the game well, he’s quick, he’s powerful in the air, he’s good on the ball - everything you want from a modern-day centre-back.

“He’s going the right way. I wouldn’t make him captain if I didn’t think he was capable of being a leader. He’s mature and wants to go to higher levels.”

Meanwhile, Canning hopes to have on-loan Norwich keeper Remi Matthews back at the SuperSeal Stadium before the turn of the year.

The 22-year-old was sent back to Carrow Road at the beginning of October after suffering a shoulder injury but is close to a return.

“I spoke to Remi yesterday and his shoulder issue has still got another couple of weeks to go before it’s cleared up,” said Canning.

“He also had a hernia, believe it or not. He had been playing through it but he’s since had that operated on too and we’re expecting him back in the next three or four weeks.

“When we spoke, I told him we’d leave him down at Norwich until he’s ready to come back up. They have all the top facilities down there and the staff who can look after him.

“Once he’s ready to play, we’ll get him back up.”

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