Steve Clarke open to ex-England defender Steven Caulker switching to Scotland

Former England defender Steven Caulker has expressed his desire to play for Scotland and will be considered by manager Steve Clarke.

Steven Caulker had a spell at Dundee last year. Picture: SNS
Steven Caulker had a spell at Dundee last year. Picture: SNS

Caulker, currently playing for Turkish League leaders Alanyaspor, contacted Clarke’s assistant coach Steven Reid to confirm his interest in switching allegiance.

With the current squad preparing for Thursday’s Euro 2020 Group I qualifier in Russia, Reid also revealed that Livingston’s Australian-born striker Lyndon Dykes and Hibs’ Welsh-born goalkeeper Chris Maxwell, both of whom have Scottish parents, are also on Clarke’s radar.

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Caulker was capped once by England at senior level when he scored in a friendly against Sweden in 2012. As the 27-year-old has not played in a competitive match for the country of his birth, he is still eligible for Scotland through his paternal grandmother Jessie who hailed from Dollar in Clackmannanshire.

Scotland captain Andy Robertson during a training session at Oriam. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS/SFA

Scotland have been short of options in central defence for some time and Reid has no doubts that former Spurs, Cardiff City, QPR and Dundee player Caulker could become a valuable member of Clarke’s squad.

“Steven has made it clear he’d like to be considered,” said Reid. “So we’ll monitor the situation, watch his games in Turkey and hopefully get out there to see him in person.

“He has gone out of his way to make it clear he wants to play for us, he phoned me directly. He was really positive.

“He has started well out in Turkey, he’s been in good form and his club are doing well in the league. He seems like he is in a really good place at the moment, he is enjoying his football and his life again.

“He could definitely be an asset for Scotland. He has Premier League experience and has played for some big clubs. So we definitely can’t discount him.”

Caulker has faced problems off the pitch, having been arrested for a public order offence while on loan at Swansea City in 2011 and suffering from gambling addiction, depression and alcohol issues.

“I know Steven and played against him at club level,” added Reid. “It’s well documented that he’s had his difficulties but I think he’s found a place now, away from the media spotlight, and he’s really enjoying his family time and his football.

“It’s good to see and at some stage we’ll definitely be making the trip and seeing how he gets on.”

Clarke and Reid were at Livingston on Sunday when striker Dykes scored in a 2-0 win over champions Celtic, prompting calls for the 24-year-old to earn Scotland recognition.

“He was impressive, there’s no two ways about it,” said Reid. “If he continues to perform like that every week, he’s obviously one we need to monitor.

“I think we also have to look at Chris Maxwell at Hibs. I don’t think it’s an issue if players weren’t born in Scotland. If they are fit, playing well and show willingness to play for Scotland, that’s great.”

Reid has also backed Declan Gallagher to make the most of his call-up to the Scotland squad just four years after he was sent to prison after being convicted of serious assault.

The Motherwell defender was drafted in on Sunday night after Norwich City’s Grant Hanley pulled out injured and is in contention to make his debut against Russia in Moscow on Thursday night.

“Declan is in on merit and form,” said Reid. “He has been remorseful of the incident that happened. It’s a second chance for him and hopefully he grasps it with both hands. It’s no secret we’ve had a lot of problems and injuries in the defensive department, so there are opportunities there to be taken.”