Luton’s Jacob Brown targeting first Scotland goal but insists he can help team in other ways
The striker made his Scotland debut in October 2021, coming on as a substitute towards the end of a 2-0 win over Moldova in the Nations League. It has been a familiar tale for the 25-year-old, who has been unable to bag a starting place owing to the good form of Lyndon Dykes and Che Adams.
Even on Thursday he had to watch as Lawrence Shankland was summoned from the bench by Steve Clarke in a bid to save the game against Georgia. The Hearts striker plundered a header in injury-time to secure a 2-2 draw and many feel he has moved ahead of Brown in the queue, although they are very different players.
Clarke clearly likes what he sees in the seven-times capped Brown, as next summer's Euro 2024 finals hove into view. He would not keep picking him in squads otherwise.
Brown's most recent active involvement was against France, when he impressed as a second-half substitute in the 4-1 defeat. He forced goalkeeper Mike Maignan into a good save with 15 minutes to go.
“I was close against France which would have been amazing,” said Brown. “As a striker you want to show what you can do and get the goals and assists. If I’m selected hopefully I can do that.
“My job is to get goals and that’s what I want to do," he added, with attention turning to tonight's final Group A qualifier against Norway. "But you need to bring more than just that. If you’re not scoring you need to be helping in other ways and I feel like I definitely do that. But to get my first goal would be a nice bonus.”
Brown was playing for Stoke City in the Championship when he was first called up by Clarke. He has since admitted he was affected by nerves.
“It all felt a bit surreal and it came quite quick,” he said. “I was nervous just for the level of football and meeting up with the team. But from the first day the lads and all the staff were great. It’s mad that it’s been two years since then, I’m enjoying every minute.”
He is relishing playing in the Premier League with Luton Town, who have moved out of the relegation zone since Brown has been away with Scotland after Everton's ten points-sanction for breaching profit and sustainability rules. Although he knows he won’t be facing Erling Halaand at Hampden, with the Norwegian striker missing due to injury, he will likely face up to him soon enough. Luton are due to meet Manchester City at Kenilworth Road next month.
“We've got Arsenal and Man City in the space of five days but they're both at home which hopefully will help us,” he said. “We've a great support at home and we feel like we can always do well against teams there.”
Brown was a 79th minute substitute against Liverpool in his last appearance in the Premier League, with Luton going ahead a minute later through Tahith Chong. Luis Diaz equalised in the final minute of regulation time to deny the hosts a famous victory.
“That's the confidence we have as a team, we know games are going to be difficult,” said Brown. “But we almost got a result against Tottenham at home then could've got the win against Liverpool if we'd held on a bit longer. But to be mixing it with those types of teams is a real confidence booster for us. We just need to keep pushing on to get the results.”
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