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Tue, Jun

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Jason Scotland will benefit from the break, says Dundee United boss Ian McCall. Dundee United striker Jason Scotland has put club before country and side-stepped Trinidad and Tobago’s busy summer programme in a bid to be fresh for the start of next season.


Although not in the original squad, Scotland was called up for Sunday’s friendly with Scotland at Easter Road and had been due to join the rest of the party, who were already in this country following last week’s win over Iraq at West Bromwich.

However, having travelled home to the Caribbean for a holiday and to visit relatives, he declined the offer of another cap in favour of a break.

That means he is also likely to miss the home friendly with Nothern Ireland in Tobago on June 6, and two World Cup qualifiers against the Dominican Republic in the middle of the month.

“Jason had already arranged his travel home and felt it was too much to go home, travel here and then back to Trinidad in the space of a few days,” said United boss Ian McCall.

“I agree with him and, from my point of view, I would rather both he and Collin Samuel were back home resting than playing international games over the summer.

“I felt that over the last four months or so of the season, they both made good progress and Jason, in particular, did very well. I believe that will continue next season and having a break right now can only help them.”

Meanwhile, according to reports of the "Sunday Herald" writer Natasha Woods reported, Bertille St Clair is the latest T&T national coach yet to be won over by Scotland’s talents. He didn’t name the United striker in his original squad for the trip to face Berti Vogts’ side, much to the player’s disappointment.

“They picked the squad and I wasn’t in. Then a guy from Trinidad gets injured so they call me up and and tell me they want me to play. I say no, I’m going home, I’ve already booked my ticket.

“I don’t see why I should be second choice. It is always the way – I’m the back-up they call. But I’ve scored a lot of goals in Trinidad and now I’m scoring here too and I feel I can be first choice. I’ve never got a consistent run and I don’t know why. Maybe it is just coaches don’t fancy me,” he said.

He has some regrets about missing out – particularly as it would have caused some confusion in the stands at Easter Road. “Playing against Scotland would have been nice. I might have had to think whether they were chanting ‘Scotland’ for me or ‘Scotland’ for the national team!”

“Rocket”, as he is known back in his homeland, certainly has no regrets about choosing Scotland over China last year. Back at the start of 2003 Mike Berry, his agent, arranged for him to go on trial with Beijing Guoan. He didn’t enjoy the experience, but knew the time was right for him to leave Defence Force in Trinidad and try his luck abroad.

Then United offered him a trial last summer. Two-footed and powerful, he did enough to encourage McCall to offer him a two-year deal.

In many ways he wishes he had made the move abroad sooner. “I look at Dwight Yorke, who came to Britain when he was 17. I think I may have adapted to the game quicker if I had arrived at that age because the football is so different back home.”

He believes one season in Scotland has already made him a better player. It has certainly made him a harder-working one. “Back at Defence Force I was the guy who got goals. I got the ball, did my stuff and didn’t really defend much.

“But in Scotland it is different. Everyone likes to see you working hard when you haven’t got the ball. I have to defend and run about more than I ever did in Trinidad.”