Anya receives maiden call-up to Scotland
GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — Watford defender Ikechi Anya received on Friday a maiden call-up to the Scotland squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Belgium and Macedonia.
The 25-year-old Anya was included in Gordon Strachan’s 27-player list alongside forwards Jamie Mackie and Ross McCormack, who are returning to the squad.
Vancouver Whitecaps striker Kenny Miller, who scored 18 goals in 69 appearances, is missing after announcing his retirement from international football earlier Friday.
Kilmarnock goalkeeper Craig Samson was also been recalled, with Allan McGregor suspended for the first match against Belgium.
Anya, who can play fullback or wide midfield, moved to Watford last summer after playing in Spain with different clubs, including Celta Vigo.
“We knew about him at the end of last year and everybody watched him,” Strachan said. “When any of my friends watched him they passed on information. I spoke to him last night and he was delighted. He is a late developer. He is a guy who has seen there is a chance and worked hard. He has got pace, technically he is good, he keeps the ball, so they are good credentials for an international player.”
Darren Fletcher, Steven Fletcher and Gary Caldwell are still unavailable because of injury or illness.
Scotland takes on Belgium at home on Sept. 6 before traveling to play Macedonia on Sept. 10.
Unbeaten Belgium tops Group A with 19 points from 7 games, while Scotland stands second-to-last with 5 points.
Goalkeepers: Matt Gilks (Blackpool), David Marshall (Cardiff), Allan McGregor (Hull), Craig Samson (Kilmarnock).
Defenders: Ikechi Anya (Watford), Gordon Greer (Brighton and Hove), Grant Hanley (Blackburn), Alan Hutton (Aston Villa), Russell Martin (Norwich), Charlie Mulgrew (Celtic), Steven Whittaker (Norwich).
Midfielders: Charlie Adam (Stoke), Barry Bannan (Aston Villa), George Boyd (Hull), Scott Brown (Celtic), Craig Conway (Cardiff), Graham Dorrans (West Bromwich Albion), James Forrest (Celtic), James McArthur (Wigan), James Morrison (West Bromwich Albion), Steven Naismith (Everton), Robert Snodgrass (Norwich).
Forwards: Leigh Griffiths (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Jamie Mackie (Nottingham Forest), Shaun Maloney (Wigan), Ross McCormack (Leeds), Jordan Rhodes (Blackburn).