Billy Stark relishes Jordan Rhodes-James Forrest combination

Jordan Rhodes
Rhodes will join the Scotland Under-21 squad after making his senior debut

Billy Stark hopes Jordan Rhodes comes through his first full Scotland outing unscathed so he can team up with James Forrest for the Under-21s.

The Under-21 manager takes his side to the Netherlands three days after striker Rhodes is due to get his debut in the seniors' friendly in Cyprus.

Forrest has dropped down from the seniors for the Euro qualifier.

"He can provide crosses and we know that Jordan is good in the air; that sounds like a good mix," said Stark.

"James has got a few strings to his bow, but he's certainly as close to a winger as we have in Scotland."

The Dutch go into the game with a 100% record in European Under-21 Championships qualifying Group 10.

And senior coach Craig Levein revealed that Stark had "pleaded" with him to make Forrest available to the under-21s, who are unbeaten in second place behind the Dutch following two draws and a win.

But Stark warned against placing too much expectation on the Celtic winger, who has four full caps and whose recent performances have attracted the attention of Tottenham Hotspur.

"If Craig had felt he'd needed James for Cyprus, he'd have been there," Stark stressed. "But he was good enough to allow him to join us.

"We have to be careful from that point of view that he's not looked on as a saviour.

"He's a young lad that's done particularly well for the youth levels and now he's doing it both for his club and for the full international team.

"All he needs to do is keep doing what he's been doing. He'll need the help of 10 or 13 others in the game on Monday night, there's no doubt about that."

Huddersfield striker Rhodes will be looking to extend a run of five goals in the last two under-21 games - and 14 goals in his last seven matches - when he plays in Nijmegen.

"We're absolutely thrilled Craig's chosen Jordan," added Stark. "Hopefully he'll make his full debut in Cyprus and then come and join us.

"The goalscoring ratio that he has is as good as anything I can remember.

"He's been doing that at a decent level and he has been for a couple of years.

"He's shown he can score at international level for us. Hopefully, he can continue that."

Scotland Under-21 squad

Goalkeepers: Adam (Rangers), Archer (Tottenham), Ridgers (Hearts)

Defenders: Booth (Hibernian), Cole (Rangers), Hanlon (Hibernian), Jack (Aberdeen), Perry (Rangers), Wilson (Liverpool)

Midfielders: Allan (Dundee United), Cairney (Hull), Forrest (Celtic), Kelly (Kilmarnock), Palmer (Sheffield Wednesday), Pawlett (Aberdeen), Wotherspoon (Hibernian), Wylde (Rangers)

Strikers: Griffiths (Wolves), MacDonald (Burnley), Rhodes (Huddersfield), Russell (Dundee United)

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