Hibs winger Martin Boyle is set to be at the centre of an international tug-of-war next week, wanted by both Scotland and Australia.
Alex McLeish will name his Scotland squad for their second UEFA Nations League match against Israel on Monday, while Socceroos coach, Graham Arnold, is expected to include Boyle in his plans for Australia’s friendly in Kuwait when he unveils his 23-man pool next week.
Arnold has claimed Boyle, whose father Graeme was born in Sydney, is “very excited to play for Australia” having met the 25-year-old during a recent visit to Edinburgh in which he also watched the winger in action, and has since spoken to him about joining his Hibs team-mates Mark Milligan and Jamie Maclaren in pulling on the green and gold.
But Boyle is also on Scotland’s radar, robbed of a potential cap as injury ruled him out of the end-of-season tour to Mexico and Peru, while McLeish was at Easter Road earlier in the week to see him turn in an impressive performance in the Betfred Cup tie against Aberdeen.
Hibs boss Neil Lennon has revealed that McLeish was intending to speak to the player himself. Informed of Arnold’s intention to call on Boyle, Lennon said: “There is interest from Scotland as well. How positive that is I don’t know. It’s great recognition for him. He might have a decision to make.
“I’ve spoken to Alex, yes. He was due to speak to Martin. I spoke to Martin briefly about it on Thursday night. I said ‘you may get a call from Alex, so be ready if you want to speak to him or not’.”
And Lennon insisted if there was any decision to be made it would be entirely up to Boyle. “It’s down to the player’s preference, that’s if Alex is going to call him up. I don’t know how the conversation went. I’ve left it up to those two – that’s if they have had the conversation yet.
“Graham has come out publicly and he’s obviously very pleased with what he’s seen. We had footage of Martin here for him to look at and he was at the game against Kilmarnock as well. Martin only lasted a half, but obviously Graham’s seen enough to think he was good enough to warrant a call, which is again, very, very pleasing.”
Scotland face Israel on October 11 and have a home friendly match with Portugal three days later and Lennon agreed that Boyle had boosted his chances of persuading McLeish to include him in the squad with his display against Aberdeen, while saying he had been “outstanding” for the past two years for him.
“I see it every week. I see him doing something special almost every week, then I see him do something stupid more or less every week as well. But if he was the complete player, he would be playing at a far higher level. The improvement is enormous and that’s down to the individual. His physicality and strength has got better. Hhis athleticism, fitness levels are unbelievably high. Is he ready to be called up? That’s for others to decide. But he certainly has the attributes to play international football.”
Meanwhile, development squad players, goalkeeper Kevin Dabrowski and centre-half Kevin Waugh, have gone on loan to Berwick Rangers and Civil Service Strollers respectively until January.