Clarke considering Scotland options after losing 'pivotal' Dykes


Scotland manager Steve Clarke is considering “all options” after losing “pivotal” striker Lyndon Dykes to injury.

Dykes was carried off on a stretcher during training on Friday and has since been ruled out for Euro 2024 with less than two weeks before Scotland open the tournament against hosts Germany on June 14.

The QPR striker has scored nine goals across 36 internationals and has often been the focal point of Clarke’s attack.

The setback leaves Scotland with only Che Adams and Lawrence Shankland as recognised centre-forwards in their 27-player squad, which needs to be cut to 26 after their final warm-up game against Finland on Friday night.

Che Adams and Lyndon Dykes have played in the majority of Scotland's games
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Che Adams and Lyndon Dykes have played in the majority of Scotland’s games

Speaking at his pre-match media conference in Portugal ahead of Monday’s friendly against Gibraltar, Clarke said: “I’ve given myself two or three days just to think about it.

“There is no like-for-like replacement for Lyndon because he brings his own qualities. I don’t really believe in like for like. Lyndon brings his qualities, obviously we haven’t got them.

“I will have a little look at what’s around, I will decide what to do with the squad and we will go from there.”

When asked whether he would call up another striker, Clarke said: “That’s why I am thinking about it.”

‘Dykes has been a pivotal player’

Dykes played in all eight of Scotland’s qualifiers, starting five of them, and scoring once.

“We are all really disappointed for Lyndon,” added Clarke. “The boys that got injured earlier get a little bit more time to get over it. Lyndon’s is right at the last minute before we go to the tournament.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - MAY 30: Lyndon Dykes during a Scotland National Team training session at Lesser Hampden, on May 30, 2024, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
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Dykes has scored nine goals across 36 internationals and has often been the focal point of Scotland’s attack

“And he’s been a good player for us, a pivotal player. One of the best telephone conversations I ever had was when I phoned him up and gave him the option to come and play for Scotland rather than Australia. Thankfully he chose us.

“That was four years ago and I think the path the national team has been on since then has been mainly an upward trend.

“[I’m] grateful for what he has done up until now, sad that he misses this tournament, but I look forward to working with him again in the future.

“It was an ankle injury. No contact, just the way he landed, the way he fell on it. It happens, unfortunately. Earlier in the session, Lyndon made a similar movement and nothing happened. It’s just the way it is.

“You have to be quite resilient as a coach, a manager and a player and realise things move forward, and that’s what we have done.”

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - MAY 22: Scotland Head Coach Steve Clarke names his provisional squad for UEFA EURO 2024 at Hampden park, on May 22, 2024, in Glasgow, Scotland.  (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
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Steve Clarke has named a provisional 27-player squad

Clarke previously hinted he would look to the Scotland U21 squad if any late call-ups were needed.

That could put Tommy Conway in pole position given the Bristol City forward is with Scot Gemmill’s group ahead of a friendly in Turkey on Monday. The 21-year-old netted 12 goals for the Sky Bet Championship side last season.

Liverpool winger Ben Doak has played in a central attacking role for Scotland Under-21s but the 18-year-old’s club campaign was ended by a knee injury in December and he is still getting back up to speed.

Clarke is mulling over other scenarios as well.

“Possibly, but not necessarily, that’s what I would do,” he said. “It’s something that we think about all the time.

“We like to have a connection with the Scottish young team. I like to show there is a pathway to the A squad from the U21s.

“But obviously you have got to consider all options and that’s what I will do.”

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Scott McTominay won’t play for Scotland against Gibraltar

Meanwhile, Stuart Armstrong, Scott McTominay and John Souttar won’t feature for Scotland on Monday night.

Manchester United midfielder McTominay came off just 25 minutes after coming on as a substitute in the FA Cup final win over Manchester City last weekend.

Southampton’s Armstrong has not played since being stretched off last month while centre-back Souttar missed Rangers’ final three games of the season.

Boss Clarke said: “Stuart Armstrong, Scott McTominay and John Souttar won’t play this game but I am pretty confident they will all be good for the next game.

“For me it’s a chance to get some minutes on the pitch for some players, maybe a slightly unfamiliar line-up in terms of people starting the game.

“We’ve still got one or two people coming back from a longer-term injury so we are careful to manage minutes.

“It’s a little bit of a balancing act to make sure we get a good performance and a good result.

“Some of them maybe didn’t get the minutes they wanted towards the end of the club season so hopefully we can give them some that get them up to speed for the tournament itself.”

Greg Taylor and Scott McKenna have joined the squad after additional time off.

Scotland’s warm-up matches

Monday June 3: Gibraltar vs Scotland

Friday June 7: Scotland vs Finland

Scotland’s Euro 2024 group-stage matches

Friday June 14 – Group A: Germany vs Scotland (Allianz Arena, Munich)

Wednesday June 19 – Group A: Scotland vs Switzerland (RheinEnergieStadion, Cologne)

Sunday June 23 – Group A: Scotland vs Hungary (MHPArena, Stuttgart)

The top two in each group plus the fourbest third-placed teams go through

Scotland’s potential route to the final finishing as group winners…

If Scotland finish as winners of Group A but all other results at Euro 2024 go with the world rankings, the Scots’ opponents in the knockout rounds would be…

Round of 16: Saturday June 29 – Scotland vs Denmark (Westfalenstadion, Dortmund)

Quarter-final: Friday July 5 – Spain vs Scotland (MHPArena, Stuttgart)

Semi-final: Tuesday July 9 – Scotland vs Netherlands; kick-off 8pm (Allianz Arena, Munich)

Final: Sunday July 14 – Scotland vs France; kick-off 8pm (Olympiastadion, Berlin)

Scotland’s potential route to the final finishing as group runners-up…

If Scotland finish as Group A runners-up but all other results at Euro 2024 go with the world rankings, the Scots’ opponents in the knockout rounds would be…

Round of 16: Saturday June 29 – Scotland vs Italy (Olympiastadion, Berlin)

Quarter-final: Saturday July 6 – England vs Scotland (Merkur Spiel-Arena, Düsseldorf)

Semi-final: Wednesday July 10 – France vs Scotland; kick-off 8pm (Allianz Arena, Munich)

Final: Sunday July 14 – Spain vs Scotland; kick-off 8pm (Olympiastadion, Berlin)

Euro 2024 groups in full…

  • Group A: Germany, Scotland, Hungary, Switzerland
  • Group B: Spain, Croatia, Italy, Albania
  • Group C: Slovenia, Denmark, Serbia, England
  • Group D: Poland/Wales/Finland/Estonia, Netherlands, Austria, France
  • Group E: Belgium, Slovakia, Romania, Israel/Bosnia & Herzegovina/Ukraine/Iceland
  • Group F: Turkey, Georgia/Greece/Kazakhstan/Luxembourg, Portugal, Czech Republic



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