Callum Paterson insists he will play anywhere for Scotland after being converted from right-back to attacking midfield by Cardiff City.
The former Hearts defender hopes to earn his sixth and seventh caps against Costa Rica and Hungary, and will happily line up wherever national coach Alex McLeish needs him.
Paterson made his name at Tynecastle as a marauding right-back but also filled in at centre-forward, right-wing and even centre-back. Last summer he joined Cardiff, where manager Neil Warnock is using him as a goalscoring midfielder in the Welsh club’s push for promotion to England’s Premier League.
He has scored eight times in 26 games for City, mostly in the traditional attacking midfielder’s No.10 role. However, Scotland are well covered in that area and Paterson may find himself returning to right-back.
He explained today he would have no problem playing any position for his country, admitting he may not succeed as a No.10 at international level. “I’d love to play there but I’m not the most technical No.10 in the world. I’m more of a punt-and-run kind of guy, so it probably won’t suit me,” said the 23-year-old.
“There are also some great players in the squad who’ve been doing really well in their respective leagues for their respective clubs. You’ve got to take it on the chin and play where you are played. I’d love to play anywhere.
“I’ve got three goals in my last three games for Cardiff, which is all right. I’m playing in a different role, a little higher up the park. It’s down to the team making opportunities. I’ve been in the right place at the right time for the past few games so will hopefully keep it going.
“It’s attacking midfield I’ve been playing, just off the striker. I run about and press as many people as I can and then get in the box as much as I can. I’ve played in lots of different positions in the past. It doesn’t do me any damage to play in different positions. You get to learn different things about the game as you see it from different angles. I’m enjoying it. If I keep scoring and doing well, it’s only going to be a good season for me.
“In my opinion there’s no point in pigeon-holing yourself into one position on the pitch. If someone else is doing well, you might not get in the team. So I’m happy to get in anywhere at the moment. I can play right-back and everywhere else. I’m just happy to play. If that’s where people want to play me, I’ll try and do a job for them. I’ve not had a conversation with the manager yet about where he sees me playing.”
Warnock stated publicly that Paterson has the attributes to play as a right-sided centre-back, which the player would be more than happy with. “I’d love to play there,” he said. “Everyone knows I’m not the best in one-on-one situations but I love defending and I love getting up and heading the ball and running about. It could be an ideal position for me but I’ll play anywhere that’s asked of me.”