SOUTH AFRICA’S hope that Callum Paterson will change allegiance was quashed today when the Hearts defender again declared he will only play for Scotland.
Officials in Cape Town have made it known they would like to persuade Paterson to play for them in this summer’s Rio Olympics, but the 21-year-old insists he is Scottish and nothing else.
Although born in London, Paterson is eligible for Zimbabwe through his mother and South Africa through his grandparents. He stressed he has no intention of playing for anyone other than Scotland.
He is due to join up with Gordon Strachan’s squad today and will win his first senior international cap in forthcoming friendlies against Italy and France. He said he knows little about South Africa’s interest but is only focused on Scotland.
“My grandparents are from South Africa and my mum is from Zimbabwe. I think it was something I saw on Twitter but I’m here to play for Scotland and I’m happy to do that. There has been no contact at all,” he explained.
“I was born in London but I’ve lived here all my life. I class myself as Scottish and that’s what I want to be.” Paterson hopes to make an impression and, in time, succeed Alan Hutton and Steven Whittaker to become Scotland’s first-choice right-back.
“There are a couple of great players who can play right-back. They play in the English Premier League week in and week out. I want to emulate what they’ve done in their careers. It’s good to have competition. I’m not the first choice so I’ll have to try and battle to get into the team.”
The player added that he had heard nothing about reported interest from English club Bristol City. He is keen to stay at Hearts and play in Europe next season, and has even held initial talks about extending his Tynecastle contract.
“I never heard anything at all [from Bristol City]. I’ve still got another year left on my contract so I’ll be looking forward to playing in the Europa League and the league again. They’ve spoken to me [about an extension] but it’s up to them.”