Shaun Maloney: Scotland place big factor in return from US

By Andy BurkeBBC Scotland
Shaun Maloney
Shaun Maloney is keen to add to his tally of 40 caps for Scotland

Shaun Maloney admits guarding his place in the Scotland squad was a major factor in his decision to return to British football from Chicago Fire.

The 32-year-old attacking midfielder has signed a two-year deal with Hull City after eight months Stateside.

"The national team weighed heavily on my mind," said Maloney.

"It was in March that I noticed that the travel back for the international games was proving more difficult than I thought it was going to be."

The former Celtic, Aston Villa and Wigan player acknowledged "it was proving difficult" to be "physically 100% able for training and matches" as he looked to add to his 40 international caps.

Scotland's remaining Euro 2016 qualifiers
Georgia (a)4 September
Germany (h)7 September
Poland (h)8 October
Gibraltar (a)11 October

Maloney played in both of Scotland's matches in the spring, where he was subbed at half-time in the friendly against Northern Ireland and played the full 90 minutes of the 6-1 win over Gibraltar in Euro 2016 Group D qualifying.

In June, he was back in Scotland for the friendly against Qatar and a few days later played a key role in Scotland's 1-1 draw in the Euro 2016 qualifier against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin.

Earlier this week, he was named in the Scotland squad for next month's Euro qualifiers against Georgia in Tbilisi and Germany at Hampden.

He said of his decision to leave Chicago: "There were various reasons, a couple of them personal, but once I thought about it professionally, I still had a real desire to achieve something in British football.

Shaun Maloney is mobbed by team-mates after scoring a great goal for Scotland against the Republic of Ireland
Shaun Maloney is mobbed by team-mates after scoring for Scotland against Republic of Ireland last year

"I have loved living in Chicago. I had a brilliant time. I don't think I've been happier living anywhere else.

"The football didn't work out they way we all hoped. The owner, the manager hoped for things to be different.

"I didn't want to give the national manager any excuse whenever I met up with the national team, travelling back from Chicago."

Maloney did not speak to Scotland boss Gordon Strachan about his move to Hull, a Championship club he was keen to join with Steve Bruce as manager.

He said: "Once I made it known that I was going to come back, it was two or three weeks ago that Hull showed an interest in me. That's when a decision had to be made.

"My mind was made up pretty quickly that I wanted to play for him. Everything is geared up to get the team back into the Premier League."

Scotland sit third behind Poland and Germany in Group D qualifying.

"We're in a good position," Maloney added. "Let's hope that we're good enough to get the results needed to get us out the group and get us to a major championship."

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