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Commonwealth Games 2002

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Monday, 15 April, 2002, 19:00 GMT 20:00 UK
New boys raring to go
Vogts poses with new faces Graham Alexander (left) and Robbie Stockdale (right)
English-born duo Graham Alexander and Robbie Stockdale both insist they are delighted to be part of Berti Vogts' blueprint for the future of Scotland.

However, both men play their club football at right full back and may be competing for the same position come Wednesday's night friendly clash with Nigeria at Pittodrie.

Alexander says he has never had any intention of playing for England and decided over a decade ago that his ambition was to play for Scotland.

The 30-year-old Preston defender opted to follow the roots of his Scottish father and has eventually achieved his aim of being selected for the national squad.

"The first interview I did when I was 19 years old, I was asked what my ambitions were and if I wanted to play for England," revealed Alexander.


It's an opportunity to play international football and that's probably the highest any player can achieve
Robbie Stockdale
"I told them no. I explained to them that my ambition was to play for Scotland - I can't believe I'm here now.

"It's beyond belief - If you had told me a year or two ago that I could be playing in the Scotland squad I would have laughed at you.

"When you're younger you have all these dreams of playing at international level but, when you get to a certain point in your career, you think it's passed you by.

"But I'm looking forward to it - I've still got a few years left in me so hopefully I can make a name for myself."

Meanwhile, Stockdale claims pulling on a Scotland jersey for the first time will help dull the pain of his FA Cup semi-final defeat on Sunday.

The 22-year-old was part of the Middlesbrough side who were dumped out of the competition 1-0 by Arsenal.

He said: "I think it does make up for that, absolutely. Obviously I was very down after the game."

Stockdale's Scottish grandmother means he is eligible to play - although he admits as a youngster his ambitions did not include wearing the dark blue of Scotland.

But now he is part of that set-up he claims he has no regrets about following his Scottish roots.

Preston's Graham Alexander
Alexander has played in midfield before
He added: "I'm here and I just want to try to do a really good job.

"At the end of the day it's an opportunity to play international football and that's probably the highest any player can achieve.

"It will mean a lot to me. I have family coming to the game and they will be really proud and I'll be very proud myself.

"If I'm honest I probably didn't think when I was younger that one day I would play for Scotland."

Alexander has played on the right of midfield in the past, while it has been suggested Stockdale could be used in a holding role in the middle of the park.

Aberdeen's Kevin McNaughton and Rangers' Maurice Ross are other candidates for the right back berth, which has long been a problem area for Scotland.

Links to more Scotland stories are at the foot of the page.

 

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