Scotland: Jordan Rhodes will score for Craig Levein, says Steve Kean

Rhodes sends a header into the side netting against Macedonia
Rhodes sends a header into the side netting against Macedonia

Blackburn Rovers manager Steve Kean says Jordan Rhodes will score goals for Scotland, despite national coach Craig Levein's misgivings about the striker.

Levein said at the weekend that he thought the 22-year-old is not ready to start every game for his side.

But Kean said: "When he gets the opportunity to play for the national team, I think he'll score.

"He'll impress and it's just about waiting for your opportunity and I'm sure that'll come."

Rhodes scored in his first start for Scotland's senior team in August's friendly win over Australia.

However, despite a clamour for his inclusion among Scotland fans, he was a substitute as Levein's side started their World Cup qualifying campaign with two home draws, against Serbia and Macedonia.

Levein has also been criticised by some in the Tartan Army and media for not resolving the dispute with Steven Fletcher that has led to Sunderland's £14m signing being discarded from the national set-up.

The Scotland coach had spoken to Sunday newspaper journalists on Thursday and, the day before his words were published, Rhodes scored twice in a 5-3 win over Bristol City that took his new club to the top of the Championship.

Levein has been criticised for not including Rhodes and Steven Fletcher
Levein has been criticised for not including Jordan Rhodes and Steven Fletcher

"That's not my decision," said Scotsman Kean about Levein's opinion of Rhodes. "If any of the staff from the Scotland camp call me and ask me how he's done, I'll give an honest opinion.

"That's going to be Craig's decision, but I think what you get with Jordan is an intelligence and a natural goalscorer and you can't get too many of them.

"I think for Jordan it's about coming to a new club first and foremost, fitting into a club environment and he's done that. He's scoring goals very quickly."

Rhodes was given the chance to have his own say ahead of Tuesday's Championship visit by Barnsley but was typically modest about his prospects.

"It was only 18 months ago that I was given my under-21 debut by Billy Stark and I'm still eligible to play for the 21s now," he said.

"I just see being part of Craig Levein's senior side as a massive bonus and something I would never have expected at this stage of my career, or any stage of my career to be honest.

"It's just fantastic to be a part of things and be around the players."

Kenny Miller scored the only goal in Scotland's opening two Group A qualifiers - in the 1-1 draw with Macedonia - and Rhodes picked out the veteran Vancouver Whitecaps striker as someone he admires.

"Every time I go away with the squad, I try to learn as much as I can with the likes of Kenny Miller and Gary Caldwell and other senior players around the team," said the £8m summer signing from Huddersfield Town. "They are great to look up to.

"It fills me with real pride and it's a huge honour to have fans at Hampden Park sing your name.

"It is something I never thought would happen and something that hasn't sunk in probably either and I don't really know what to make of it."

Rhodes gave no indication that he was annoyed at not starting Scotland's last two games.

"It was unfortunate that we did not get the results we probably set out to get," he added.

"But, at the same time, it's still all open and me, like any other Scotland fan, I'll just try to support the team as best I can whether I'm involved or not and hope they go all the way to Brazil."

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