The Scotland call-up received by David Marshall last week was the Hull City keeper’s first since June 2017 and the 34-year-old is convinced it can be the springboard to earning a first cap the 3-0 defeat away to Slovakia in November 2016.
Marshall, with 27 caps and a wealth of experience, is not in Steve Clarke’s first Scotland squad just to make up the (swelled) numbers for the Euro 2020 group qualifiers against Cyprus at Hampden on Saturday night before a date in Belgium three days later.
He has seven times more international outings to his name than the other three keepers in the pool – recent first pick Scott Bain, Jon McLaughlin and Liam Kelly – put together. With Liverpool reportedly interested in signing the out-of-contract performer, his standing in the game is higher than at any stage since he was the first choice for his country in the early years of the Gordon Strachan era from 2013 – before he found himself behind Craig Gordon and Allan McGregor in the international pecking order. Following 44 club games in the season just past, the former Celtic and Cardiff City keeper always believed he had such a turnaround in him.
“I wasn’t shocked to get the call because I have been playing regularly again,” he said. “When you aren’t, it has that domino effect where you don’t get picked for your country. I wasn’t expecting the call, mind you. When a new manager comes in you don’t know what way he will go. We had a chat, he asked if I would like to join up with the squad and it was an easy ‘of course’.
“I always thought if I can get back playing and got to the level that I know I can then there would be a chance I could get a recall. It might still be that I have had my last cap, you never know, but at least I am back involved again. I always had the belief I could get back.
“Now any of the four of us would say they are competing for No.1 and I am no different.
“Having got back playing at club level, getting a full season under my belt, I feel good. Speaking to the manager, it will be a case of seeing how you do in training and seeing where you are. I am under no illusions and I will need to work hard and the lads who are also in the squad are flying as well. It would be great if I could get some game time.”
Marshall is reluctant to discuss what his club future might hold, and whether he could be providing back-up at Anfield to last summer’s £67m arrival, Allison. Yet, considering some of the wafer-thin reasons deployed by Scotland refuseniks in recent years, the fact he has to resolve where he will be playing next season in short order could have provided him with the perfect excuse to decline Clarke’s call.
“That never crossed my mind,” he said. “These things get done over a phone usually. We will hopefully get something sorted over the next two or three weeks. The gaffer gave me a call straight away and obviously Stevie Woods is goalkeeper coach as well so I am really looking forward to the week.”
Marshall hopes he will be the first of a certain type of old guard to return to the Scotland fold. He attended the wedding of former Hull team-mate Robert Snodgrass on Friday and believes that the West Ham man and his national team can still be a fruitful union.
“There are a few experienced lads who have missed out in the last 18 months who are doing more than enough to merit a call. He would definitely make the squad better.”