Neil Lennon: Scotland wanted to call up Hibs' Martin Boyle
Hibs boss Neil Lennon has revealed how Australian target Martin Boyle was robbed of a potential Scotland cap in the summer by injury.
Easter Road’s flying winger is high on the radar of Graham Arnold, the new coach of the Socceroos, who visited East Mains before watching Boyle in action in the Capital club’s 3-2 win over Kilmarnock. Boyle’s father, Graeme, was born in Sydney.
Boyle came off against Killie because of injury, although he’ll be fit to face Dundee at Dens Park today. Arnold took advantage of his visit to Hibs’ training ground to view videos of Boyle in action as he also caught up with Aussie internationalists Mark Milligan and Jamie Maclaren, who will miss the trip to Tayside with a back problem.
However, while insisting an Australian call-up, which could come as early as next month when the Socceroos face Kuwait in a friendly in the Middle East, Lennon disclosed that Boyle could have been on Scotland’s summer tour of Mexico and Peru in which his Hibs team-mate Lewis Stevenson won his first international cap.
“We did get a call in from Scotland before the trip to South America, but Martin had hurt his hamstring in the penultimate game of the season and was unavailable.”
Boyle has already expressed an interest in playing for the country of his father’s birth – as first revealed by the Edinburgh Evening News eight months ago – and Lennon admitted he’d be delighted if he was called up by Australia. He said: “I think it would be thoroughly merited for Martin. We had Graham Arnold here checking on Milly and Jamie and then he came to the game against Kilmarnock. Unfortunately Martin only lasted 45 minutes but Graham saw plenty of footage of him while he was here. He’s maybe a player of interest to Australia and I think that would appeal to Martin.
“International football would be great for his experience, to play at international level, especially for a country like Australia. It is a different footballing culture but if he does get called up there is a familiarity there with the boys already here. It would be great for his game going forward.
“I had a chat with Graham, nothing was confirmed but we’d be delighted for Martin if it does happen.”
Asked if the Australian link might act as some sort of a “hurry up” call to national team coach Alex McLeish, Lennon insisted it was not in his remit to pick players for Scotland but was adamant Boyle has plenty of potential to continue the rapid progress he has made in a green-and-white shirt.
He said: “There is still room for improvement in his game but he has been tremendous for me over the two years I have ben here and you see improvement in him all the time.
“Physically, he is stronger, he has electric pace and has been a huge player for me. He is everybody’s type of player – he wants to get at people, get beyond and his movement and fitness levels are very, very good. I don’t think he is the type to rest on his laurels.”