Shaun Maloney will be a big hit for Scotland, says Charlie Mulgrew

Charlie Mulgrew has backed former Celtic team-mate Shaun Maloney to make as big an impact with Scotland as he has with Wigan.

The forward was instrumental in his club’s successful fight for survival in the Barclays Premier League. Recent displays have earned him a recall to Craig Levein’s squad for this weekend’s friendly against the United States in Florida, and he flew out yesterday with the rest of the English-based players.

Maloney’s last appearance for the national team was against the Faroe Islands in November 2010 and Mulgrew believes his old Celtic team-mate has plenty more to offer the Scots.

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He said: “Shaun is a top player and a top professional, so it was no surprise to see him doing so well down there. I’ll speak to him about it when he comes over, but there was no surprise there. Of course he can make an impact here – he is a top quality player. We have seen him do it in the Premier League at the highest level so I’m sure he can made an impact for Scotland.”

Mulgrew, himself, hopes to earn only his second cap after an excellent season with the Hoops which saw him scoop a number of awards. He made his international bow in the last outing against Slovenia in February.

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Asked if he feels he now needs to make up for lost time, he said: “Not really. I’m just trying to enjoy it. I’ve always wanted to play for Scotland and I just want to do my best. Hopefully I can bring something to the team. This is the second time I’ve been called up, so hopefully I can play in the game and do well.

“With every trip, you are looking to do better and better and hopefully stay in the manager’s plans. Hopefully I can do that on this trip and see what happens.”

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Mulgrew is keen to make a positive impact ahead of the World Cup qualifiers in September. He added: “It would be great to be involved in those games. I’ve watched a lot of them on TV and I’ve always been desperate to be involved. Hopefully I can be involved in this one and then just take it one game at a time.”

The clash with the USA may have come at the end of a long, hard season but Mulgrew says it is a challenge everyone is relishing.

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He said: “Everybody is up for it. It doesn’t matter when it comes around. To play for your national team, you’ve got to be ready for it and you’ve got to be up for it. There is always a sense of pride in pulling on the Scotland jersey and I’m sure all the boys feel the same and that’s why everybody is here. To play for your country is a great opportunity.”

Meanwhile, Jurgen Klinsmann has named two players from administration-hit Rangers in his 27-man squad. Skipper Carlos Bocanegra and midfielder Maurice Edu are both in contention for Saturday’s game in Jacksonville.