Rhodes in dreamland after call-up by Scotland

Striker fulfils boyhood ambition after Levein promotes him from U21 squad to face Cyprus.

The Huddersfield striker Jordan Rhodes has described his call-up to Craig Levein's Scotland squad as the fulfilment of a dream.

Oldham-born Rhodes, who qualifies for Scotland through the five-year schooling rule, has scored 14 goals in his last seven games, five of them for Billy Stark's Scotland Under-21s side.

He has been rewarded with a place in Levein's squad for the friendly with Cyprus in Larnaca next Friday and will then immediately join up with the under-21s for their European qualifier with the Netherlands on 14 November.

The 21-year-old said: "It's a real honour to be picked for the senior squad. Just five months ago I wasn't involved in any kind of international football so to be part of the set-up and to get some recognition from the senior squad is a boyhood dream.

"There was a bit of media talk and speculation about a potential call-up but I tried my best not to let it affect me and to remain completely focused on my club football until the squad was officially announced. To be in the pockets of the likes of Darren Fletcher and Charlie Adam for the week will be a fantastic experience.

"They are household names and play at massive clubs but the team is littered with some great players so I'm looking forward to getting an insight into how they go about their work and I hope to learn from them. I can't wait to meet up with the squad."

James Forrest was left out after Stark "pleaded" with Levein to allow the Celtic winger to play for the under-21s in Nijmegen on 14 November.

But Rhodes will hope to make his debut in Cyprus and then help Scotland Under-21s cut the gap at the top of Group 10 to the Netherlands, who have maximum points from three games.

Rhodes added: "It will be an exciting few weeks for me. The senior squad and the under-21s both have difficult games but this is a dream come true for me and I'm looking forward to being a part of something which is a little out of the ordinary for me in terms of being part of the Scotland senior squad.

"The Netherlands will of course provide us with a tough game and we will have to be at our best if we want to get a result out there.

"Any away game is difficult but to play the Dutch in their own country will not be an easy task as they have some fantastic players. However, we will be focused and hopefully can get the right result."

Harry Kewell and Brett Emerton have been recalled to the Australia squad for two World Cup qualifiers with their coach Holger Osieck warning that he expected "a lot more" from them than they had shown in their club outings this season.

Two of Australia's most experienced internationals, forward Kewell and midfielder Emerton missed out on the win over Oman in October after returning home to play their club football in the A-League at Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC respectively.

"I thought they had to get settled in their new environment but now with a couple of games having been played, I thought I want to include them again," Osieck told a news conference in Sydney. "Although I have to admit, and I want to make this very clear, that I expect a lot more of them other than they have produced so far.

"But knowing of their value and what they bring to the team, I invited them to be part of our trip to Oman and Thailand."

Australia are scheduled to play Oman in Muscat next Friday and Thailand four days later in Bangkok as they look to maintain their perfect start to their campaign to qualify for a third straight World Cup finals in 2014.

Osieck said there was "no guarantee at all" that Emerton, who has played 89 times for his country and Kewell, who has won 54 international caps, would play in either fixture. "Whoever shows the right performance in training has the chance to be nominated for the game," the German added.

Aston Villa defender Chris Herd was the only uncapped player included in the squad, while Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer could win his 93rd cap.

With five players on yellow cards and one further caution away from a suspension after the three victories in three games, Osieck said he would be "calculating" which players he picked from the 23-man squad. One thing that was not up for debate, however, was the way the Socceroos would be expected to approach the two away fixtures. "We go there to win the games, don't ask me about how many points are necessary or whatever, we go there to win," Osieck said firmly.

PA

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