'I wasn't pushing' - Scotland boss denies rushing to cap Aussie-born Dykes

Lyndon Dykes in action for Livingston Source: Getty Images

Scotland boss Steve Clarke insists he hasn't named Lyndon Dykes in his squad just to prevent him playing for the Socceroos.

Gold Coast-born Dykes represented Australia at schoolboy level but qualifies for Scotland via his Dumfries-born parents and is also married to a Scottish woman.

Dykes spent his teenage years playing rugby league in Canberra before taking up football seriously upon his return to Queensland where he turned out for a number of local teams around the Gold Coast area.

After failing to be picked up by any A-League sides, Dykes headed to Scotland in 2016 and after a brief return to Australia signed his first professional deal with Queen of the South before joining Livingston in 2018.

After a strong first season in the Scottish Premier League, the 24-year-old striker signed for English Championship side Queens Park Rangers for a fee of $3.5 million.

Dykes has remained tight-lipped about who he will represent at senior international level.

But all speculation was put to bed on Tuesday when Clarke selected him for Scotland's upcoming UEFA Nations League double header against Israel and the Czech Republic.

"Lyndon was very honest. He obviously had the chance to play for Australia as well," Clarke said.

"We had a good honest chat. He gave me his thoughts, I gave him mine on what would be best for him - and thankfully he's named in the squad.

"I would imagine he would be getting the same conversation from Graham Arnold as he was from me."

Socceroos coach Arnold said last week he'd been in regular contact with Dykes and admitted the cancelled FIFA World Cup qualifiers in March and June had been a blow to his hopes of calling up the 188cm hitman.

However, Clarke took exception to a comment from Arnold where he expressed concern the Scots may hurt Dykes' career by making him a one-cap wonder to spite the Socceroos.

"I don't think it's a case of trying to rush someone in to cap them so they can't do anything else," Clarke said.

"It's about doing the right thing.

"I spoke to Lyndon a long time ago before the potential fixtures in March of this year. We discussed a lot of things.

"I didn't put any pressure on him, I wasn't pushing. It was very important for Lyndon to make the decision that he wanted to make.

"Obviously we can give him little ideas about what it will be like if he comes into the Scotland camp but I'm just glad he's come down on our side."

The loss of Dykes is a huge blow to the Socceroos, who have struggled to fill the centre-forward void left by Mark Viduka who last played internationally in 2007.

"If he plays as a lone striker, Lyndon's a good worker, he occupies the central defenders and hopefully that would bring into play the attacking midfielders," Clarke said.

"I hope we bring his talent, his enthusiasm and his ability to bring others into the game. He's got an eye for goal as well."

Source AAP