George Boyd Scotland recall excites ‘white Pele’
It is almost four years since the player once dubbed the ‘white Pele’ pulled on a dark blue jersey and yet he still remains willing to return north. His last appearance was in a B international against Northern Ireland, and Boyd lived up to his nickname by scoring a well-taken goal in the 3-0 victory. Sadly for the player, George Burley was sacked at the end of the year and, despite continuing to score regularly for Peterborough United, he was never contacted by Burley’s successor, Craig Levein. “That was obviously disappointing, but he obviously didn’t fancy me,” Boyd said yesterday.
Strachan, however, has had his attention caught by Boyd, who has now scored three times in five appearances for Hull City, the Championship promotion hopefuls, where he is now on loan. This move followed the collapse of a proposed loan deal at Nottingham Forest, which led to a frustrated Alex McLeish’s departure as manager. The reason for the sudden about-turn by Forest was given as an “inconclusive” eye test, which meant some re-christened Boyd ‘the blind Pele’.
When he scored against Forest at the weekend, he celebrated by using his hands to make the shape of glasses in front of his eyes. Now he aims to make up for some lost time with Scotland, the country he had never visited before the B international in Cumbernauld. “I was hoping the call would come a bit sooner,” he said. “But I just kept playing away and finally it has happened.
“Obviously, moving to Hull has helped as we are going well and going for promotion. There is a bit more spotlight on me.”
His grandfather, who was born in Motherwell and infused Boyd with a passion for Scotland, won’t be able to attend Friday’s World Cup qualifier against Wales at Hampden, when the striker hopes to gain his first full cap. “He is a bit old and he is now staying in London,” he said, although he did present his grandfather with his Scotland shirt after the B international fixture. “I have a lot of cousins who live up here and will be coming on Friday. They stay in and around Glasgow and were at the B game all those years ago. They have always kept an eye on me.”
As for that failed eye test at Forest, he explained: “It was annoying because it happened so late [on transfer deadline day]. It was 10.45pm at night when they pulled the plug on the move. But quickly I got the chance to go to Hull, went through my medical and they said there was nothing wrong.”
He went for eye tests at the University of Liverpool and received the all-clear. “It was ridiculous,” he said. “I wear contact lenses, but that’s it. However, things happen for a reason and now I have signed for Hull and I think I have come out of it all OK.”