How Sunderland fixture list could be affected as Jack Ross reacts to Jon McLaughlin's Scotland return

Jon McLaughlin has been named in Scotland's squad to face Israel and Portugal this month.

Monday, 1st October 2018, 2:47 pm
Updated Monday, 1st October 2018, 2:57 pm
Sunderland goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin is back in the Scotland squad

McLaughlin made his international debut earlier this year after a stunning season with Hearts, but missed out on the first squad of the season.

Strong performances in the Sunderland goal this season have lead to a recall from Alex McLeish, however, and the 31-year-old will now compete with former Sunderland stopper Craig Gordon.

Allan McGregor is the third goalkeeper named.

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Jack Ross says the call is richly deserved.

“I was chatting to him this morning, and I’m delighted he’s back in the squad," Ross said.

"I think he recognises that Scotland have two very good goalkeepers in Craig Gordon and Allan McGregor, but he’s proven his quality and I thought he was unfortunate not to have been in the last squad.

"His performance levels for us have just carried on from where he was at last season with Hearts. It’s a nice reward for him to be back in the squad, and it’s fully deserved given the way he’s played for us right from the very first game.

“He was one of the first players that I identified that I wanted to bring to the club," he added.

"It was a position that was important we got right. I obviously watched him very closely last season, and when you added that to his experience and the fact that he had been successful in this league, he just ticked so many boxes.

"He’s also at a stage of his life and career where he can handle the pressures of playing for this club. He’s pretty unflappable as a character, and I think you can see that in his performance levels.

The one thing that has been hard for him is that he’s not had that real tangible reward in terms of clean sheets.

"We haven’t had enough of them, and that’s frustrating for him, but his performance levels have been very good and he’s undoubtedly played a part in us having a decent start to the season as well. That’s not going to change, because I’m sure he’ll produce that consistency over the course of the season."

The selection does significantly increase the likelihood of Sunderland's clash with Blackpool on October 13th being postponed.

The home side can apply for a postponement should three or more players receive international call-ups.

Bryan Oviedo is a regular for Costa Rica while Tom Flanagan is likely to push for Northern Ireland honours now that he is fit and playing again.