Peter Grant has welcomed moves to prise goalkeeper Angus Gunn from England as Alex McLeish prepares another raid south of the Border.
Fresh from successfully poaching Manchester United midfield Scott McTominay, it has been reported Gunn is next on McLeish’s list of recruiting English-born talent for Scotland.
The 22-year-old Manchester City player is currently on loan at Norwich City in the Championship. “If he decided to come to Scotland, you would obviously embrace him with open arms,” said new Scotland coach Grant.
McLeish is a former teammate of Gunn’s father Bryan at Aberdeen and he will hope the personal connection helps convince Angus to switch.
Grant did not deny Gunn was on McLeish’s radar and believes his own association with the family might help.
Like McLeish, Grant is friends with Bryan, who he appointed to a player recruitment role with Norwich while manager at Carrow Road.
“I’ve known Angus a long time,” said Grant. “I knew him as a kid. When I was at Norwich, Angus was a baby there, playing in the youth teams before he went to Manchester City. He’s a top-quality goalkeeper. England seem to have a lot of top-quality goalkeepers, they keep saying.
“So it will be interesting. With Angus, you are always wondering ‘can I get away with playing for England anyway?’ You’ll never shut that door ’til it’s impossible for him because he’s a top-quality goalkeeper”.
Gunn, who was born in Norwich but whose goalkeeper father won six caps for Scotland, was called up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad as recently as November for the friendly with Brazil.
He is free to change countries so long as he has not played a competitive “A” fixture for England.
There is continued uncertainty over the England goalkeeper position due to the poor form of Joe Hart and the fact he rarely plays for West Ham.
However, Gunn was not picked by Southgate for this month’s games against the Netherlands and Italy.
Burnley’s uncapped keeper Nick Pope has been called up, as has Hart, Jack Butland and Jordan Pickford. Only three goalkeepers will be included in the squad for the World Cup finals in Russia. Gunn, who represented England from the Under 16s to Under 21s, could still opt for the homeland of his parents.
“He’s doing exceptionally well for Norwich,” added Grant. “I’m fortunate that I get to see him quite a bit. If he decided to come to Scotland, you would obviously embrace him with open arms. There is not doubt about that. I’m not sure about his English accent though!”
Meanwhile, Grant insists Christophe Berra’s international career is not over after the Hearts defender was omitted from the squad for the upcoming friendlies against Costa Rica and Hungary.
Even after Kieran Tierney pulled out there was no belated call-up for Berra, who has been among Scotland’s most consistent defenders this season.
McLeish opted for centre-half Jack Hendry instead after just five appearances for his new club Celtic since signing from Dundee in January.
“The young guys have been doing well, like young Scott (McKenna) and young Jack Hendry, who has been doing exceptionally well at Celtic.
“Young John Souttar has been doing really well at Hearts. Christophe has been in before. Alex knows what he can do.
It gives you an opportunity (to look at others).
“You get to qualifiers and people say ‘why did you not play him in the friendlies?’ We know what some of the senior guys can do.
“Alex thinks it is important that these young guys get a feel, first and foremost of the group, but also what’s expected of them. They may not handle it. Who knows? They may not handle the occasion.
“Christophe has proven he can do that so the door is definitely not shut. I think Alex has said that from day one. He thinks it is very, very important that these guys get the opportunity, not to fail because that would be remiss, but to prove they can play in this arena.
“Christophe has been playing well with his club, but Alex has decided that at this moment in time there are other guys who deserve an opportunity.”