Jon McLaughlin on his big international dilemma, form and major Sunderland ambitions
Jon McLaughlin admits he could be left with torn loyalties if he receives another international call-up.
The proud Scot earned a recall to Alex McLeish’s squad for the last round of international fixtures and his form has only improved from there.
In recent weeks he has been nothing short of inspirational in the Sunderland goal, though he is unlikely to depose Craig Gordon or Allan McGregor between the posts for Scotland.
Last time out Sunderland postponed their clash with Blackpool but due to scheduling challenges, Jack Ross is keen to avoid doing so again when Wycombe Wanderers are due to visit in a fortnight’s time.
That could mean playing without the stopper.
Ross, who has never hidden from his desire to manage his country, will understand McLaughlin’s dilemma better than anyone.
The 31-year-old says everyone will work together to ensure the ‘best result’.
“It’s difficult to balance it.
“That is the problem of this division, you don’t get the international breaks off.
“At the end of the day, this [Sunderland] is who pays the wages and this is where your real job is.
“Of course, it is fantastic to be called up for your country, you want to go there and be involved and do what you can.
“If you’re not playing, playing more of a supportive role if you like, and you’re going to be missing key games, then there is a decision to be made there.
“I’ll respect the decision of the Scottish FA and the club.
“You need to have the conversations and make sure everyone gets the best result. Yourself, your country and the club.
“We’ll see what happens with that.”
Another McLaughlin masterclass was met with rapturous praise from Sunderland supporters on Saturday, and he says he is beginning to feel like this group of players can go on a long and special journey with the club.
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“It’s starting to feel like it could be the pinnacle [of your career],” he said.
“It’s early days at the moment but it’s great for me to come to a club of this size and stature and feel at home, be accepted by the fans and everyone around the club.
“For anyone to come to a club this size and have that is fantastic.
“We’ve not achieved anything yet but the potential is there for everyone to see. Not just this season, but the next three, four five seasons, you could be part of something massive, getting this club back to its rightful place.
“I’ve had some fantastic moments in my career but you always want to be pushing forward.
“I feel like I am personally, as a goalkeeper, with my performances, and hopefully that can contribute to the bigger cause.
“The sky is the limit here.
“It’s unfortunate that the club has had to go through this but for a lot of us, this club was probably out of reach,” he added.
“We maybe wouldn’t have got this opportunity ahead of other people.
“We’ve had to take advantage now that we’re in it, make the absolute most of it.
“If you can get in at the ground floor if you like, at a club like this, and ride it all the way back up, then it’s a dream come true.
“For a lot of us it’s only the beginning, hopefully, of a really good story.”
McLaughlin’s performance again drew praise from manager Jack Ross.
“That is why I brought him to the club,” he said.
“To have success you need to have a goalkeeper who makes big saves, Jon is that and he will keep getting better and improving with us.
“The most pleasing thing is he is now getting those rewards with clean sheets. Defenders and goalkeepers pride themselves on it, his determination to make sure he didn’t concede was evident.”