Tom Cairney is good enough to switch allegiances from Scotland to England, according to his club manager Slavisa Jokanovic.
The Fulham midfielder, who has twice played in friendlies for Scotland, has been left out of Alex McLeish’s latest squad after being told by his club that he would not be available, despite having recently returned from injury.
McLeish insisted there was “nothing sinister” in his omission, but the improvement Cairney continues to demonstrate may yet tempt England to make an approach he would have to seriously consider. Should they do so, Jokanovic believes he will vindicate their judgement.
The 27-year-old is battling to prove his match-fitness to start Sunday’s fixture at home to Arsenal, and while Jokanovic has no preference regarding his captain’s international career, he said: “I believe he’s a useful player for many coaches and could be for Scotland and England too.
“He’s definitely a quality player and his choice is Scotland at the moment. This is a question for Tom and for the England national team.
“My players are the best players in the world and he showed his quality in the last few seasons. He didn’t start the season with luck but soon he will be at his best level.
“We will see (if he starts on Sunday). Ahead of us is two training sessions and I must take more time to make the decision.”
Fulham’s goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli has made the latest England squad, for the coming fixtures with Croatia and Spain, and Jokanovic has also predicted Ryan Sessegnon will soon receive his first senior call-up.
Alfie Mawson is another expected to return to contention with England, and the defender could yet be fit against Arsenal to strengthen a defence pursuing a first clean sheet of the season, who are already without Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Joe Bryan.
“Mawson is working with us all week and is part of the squad,” said Jokanovic.
“Bryan has a hamstring problem and Fosu-Mensah has a shoulder dislocation and will need some few weeks to be ready.”