Sheffield Wednesday: Jordan Rhodes' delight at being back in the international frame for Scotland
It may have taken a while to come round, but Jordan Rhodes is relishing the opportunity to once again pull on a Scotland jersey tonight.
With Gordon Strachan not exactly engulfed in options up front - many of Scotland’s strikers, including Sheffield Wednesday’s Steven Fletcher, haven’t been regular starters for their clubs - it would appear very likely that the friendly with Canada at Easter Road will see Rhodes add to his 13 international caps.
Should he shine there, then the Owls forward puts himself right back into the picture to play a role in the Scots’ crucial World Cup qualifier with second-in-the-group Slovenia, at Hampden Park on Sunday.
It’s been a week shy of exactly two years since Rhodes last made a Scotland appearance - scoring twice in a 6-1 win over Gibraltar - and the last time he was in a squad came that August, where a place on the bench was as close as he got to playing.
Rhodes remembers that last involvement for a goal scored by his club mate Fletcher in a 2-2 draw with Poland.
Now he is hoping for some action of his own in Edinburgh, though happy to back whoever does get a spot in the side.
“Who knows what the teams will be?” he said. “But it would be nice to be part of it.
“The manager has an array of strikers to choose from so, I guess, I just work as hard as I can on the training pitch and, if selected, give it my all.
“If I don’t play, I will support in the best way I can whoever does play. “
He added: “The last squad was when Fletcher got a really good goal against Poland. I was saying to him that was the last one. If Fletch plays, I will be cheering him on.”
Rhodes and Fletcher are joined by fellow Owl Barry Bannan in the Scotland set-up, but the 27 year-old has also a few old friends to catch up with, during the break from the pressures of a play-off challenge.
“It is nice to have familiar faces like Fletch. Lads like Grant Hanley and Tom Cairney, too, from my time at Blackburn. It is nice to catch up,” he said.
The striker and his Owls comrades go into the game against Canada with results at club level threatening to derail their play-off hopes.
The latest defeat came on Friday to Reading which made it just one win in their last six games and Rhodes is still pondering how they didn’t manage to get at least a point that night at Hillsborough.
“We were unfortunate against Reading. We did everything right, apart from the ball crossing the line,” he said. “It was one of those frustrating nights, he equaliser wouldn’t come and then we went gung-ho at the end for their second goal.
These things happen. I felt we played all right and were up against a goalkeeper who made some good saves. We all had a bit of a go but just one of those nights.
We go again. We played well and can take heart from that. There is lots of football to be played and we have to keep going.”
“As players, we all felt to have a chance of a shot on goal but it just wasn’t to be. Their keeper had a really good game. It wasn’t through not working hard or failing to keep going to the end that we didn’t get what we wanted. It was just one of those head-scratching nights.”