Scotland manager Steve Clarke opens door for Hearts' Craig Gordon to start in Euro 2020 opener
The fates could be conspiring for Hearts keeper Craig Gordon to achieve the lifelong ambition of representing Scotland in a major finals as manager Steve Clarke admitted he is keeping an “open mind” on who will start in goal in the Euro 2020 opener against Czech Republic.
David Marshall became a sporting hero for the nation thanks to his penalty shoot-out save against Serbia last November that sealed Scotland a first major finals appearance in 23 years. At that point, Gordon appeared to be very much his Derby County counterpart’s understudy, but could now be ready to step out of the shadows following his endeavours in the 2-2 friendly draw with the Netherlands in midweek.
The 38-year-old Gordon claimed his 57th cap for the friendly, benefitting from Marshall being one of six players who didn’t travel to the Algarve for the Dutch test as the result of being in “the close vicinity” of John Fleck, who tested positive for Coivd 19 at the start of the week. This turn of events for Gordon followed commanding displays for the Tynecastle men in their Championship title success. His situation contrasts sharply with that of Marshall. Injury and form issues resulted in the 43-times capped Derby keeper earning only four club starts, with Wayne Rooney dropping the 36-year-old for the league run-in.
Clarke is likely to field Marshall on Sunday as he rejigs his team for their final warm-up encounter away to Luxembourg, but the Scotland manager was coy on who would get the nod for the Hampden hosting of the Czechs on June 14.
“I haven’t got any 100 per cent decisions in my mind,” said Clarke when asked if he had been agonising over the goalkeeping position for the Euro 2020 opener. “I’m going to keep an open mind. I’m not going to tie things down in terms of ‘this is the way I’m going to go’.
"The boys who need minutes, we will try to give them that [against Luxembourg] but I obviously also want a performance. I want to look at one or two things for the tournament, one or two little combinations. It’s about getting the balance and the team right. We want to win and go into the tournament with a good feeling.”