With 8 goals in 8 international under-21 games and an impressive club record of 185 goals in 353 games all by the age of 26 you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking the record I refer to is belonging to the likes of a Robert Lewandowski or that of Robbie Keane but the man I refer to is none other than Jordan Rhodes.
With a goalscoring record like that you would think he would be a shoe-in for the number nine jersey for the dark blue of Scotland, but strangely the striker has found himself jettisoned out of the Scotland set-up throughout Gordon Strachan’s time in charge.
What makes this omission all this more confusing is the recent comments of Strachan’s assistant and Motherwell manager Mark McGhee who came out with a withering statement about Tony Watt who has been called up into one of the two ridiculous Scotland squads picked for the friendlies against Denmark and the Czech Republic.
His comments on Watt cast doubt on whether the ex-Celtic prodigy deserved a place in the squad as he described the 22-year-old as lazy and arrogant.
Even with the late withdrawal of Steven Naismith due to injury and Steven Fletchr falling ill the opportunity once again arose for Rhodes to be called into the squad, but alas the call went to Fulham’s Ross McCormack another who would be rightly aggrieved at not being in either squad ahead of the likes of Tony Watt and Chris Martin.
So why has Strachan overlooked Rhodes time and time again?
The predictable excuse that Strachan has stuck by for the last three years was that the fact that in his eyes Rhodes was unable to play in a lone striker role which is the system that Scotland would be using, so was this true?
Well no, anyone who has taken the time to watch Jordan Rhodes over the last two years before his transfer to promotion challengers Middlesbrough, would be able to tell you that for much of his time at Blackburn Rovers he was deployed as a single striker with an attacking midfielder close behind in a very similar system that Scotland actually employ, so is it a lack of goals?
Well again no, in the last four seasons he has scored as many goals as any other Scotsman with 86 to his name with the only other men to come close to this being Ross McCormack with 77 and Leigh Griffiths leading the way with 90 goals to his name.
So it raises the question what are Strachan’s motives in leaving out the Middlesbrough striker?
It would be understandable if we had an abundance of talented strikers, but sadly those days are long gone as the era of McCoist, McClair, Johnson, Durie, Ferguson and their like are no more. We are now stuck with a mix of journeymen and under-whelming under achievers in the likes of Watt, Russell, May and Fletcher all of whom have failed to look anything like international class – and for anyone who thinks that Fletcher’s six goals against Gibraltar was impressive then you need to live in the real world.
So with a lack of goals being a real problem for Scotland in recent times let’s hope that Strachan can see sense and maybe hand a call up to Rhodes sooner rather than later, but I fear by the looks of things Rhodes may have to wait until Strachan’s tenure is over – as form and talent seem to take a back seat to cronyism in the latest Scotland squad.