Blackburn Rovers centre-back Hyam was drafted into the set-up for the first time as a replacement for the injured Jack Hendry, with Scott McKenna also missing through hamstring problems. However, as preparations are stepped up for a Euro 2024 qualifying campaign that will begin with Saturday’s hosting of Cyprus, Carver maintains Steve Clarke would not have turned to the 27-year-old if he didn’t believe in the defender’s ability to make an immediate impact.
“How many times has this happened recently?” said the Scotland No 2 in response to whether Hyam was “ready to go”. “I’ll go to Ryan Porteous as an example. Ryan was always on the fringes of things and we threw him in [for the Nations League decider away to Ukraine in September]. All of a sudden everyone said: ‘Oh, that’s not bad …’ The same with Jack Hendry. So there is no reason why he can’t come in and fit in like the other guys have done. He seems to have the right personality, and that does help.
“You look at how many times Steve has brought in players and used players. I remember when I first came here and Steve kept saying it’s all about the squad. In my first squad, I think we used almost every player as we had three games and he is not scared to give an opportunity. You have to trust people. If not, what is the use in bringing these guys in, you have to trust them and Steve does when they come in. And they trust him for that reason.
“He [Hyam] is one we have been keeping an eye on of late. He’s playing in a confident team who are fifth in the Championship and just lost out in the quarter-final of the FA Cup. A player who has come through the system, we know all about him and I think Steve was at the game at weekend against Sheffield United. When Steve calls somebody up, he’s confident in their ability. He didn’t do a great deal on Tuesday morning as it was a quick turnaround for him, but he’s itching to do so.”
One fresh member of the squad whose debut seems assured for the weekend is Norwich City keeper Angus Gunn. The season-ending leg break suffered by Craig Gordon leaves Clarke without any capped players among a goalkeeping contingent completed by Hearts Zander Clark and Motherwell Liam Kelly. Carver points out a notable selling point of Gunn’s current club status.
“He’s playing in a side with two other internationals that we know well,” said the former Newcastle United coach in reference to Dutchman Tim Krul, whom he worked with at St James’ Park, and Northern Ireland’s Michael McGovern. “Angus is a confident guy, he believes in his ability and we believe in him. Listen, he is keeping out a good goalkeeper in Tim Krul, who I know all about. A Holland international, and a friend of mine. So he must be doing something right. Steve and Woodsy [coach Steve Woods] will have a conversation and Steve will make the right decision on who will be the number one choice.”