England’s Gordon: ‘Never a thought’ to play for Scotland

Anthony Gordon has insisted “it was never a thought” to play for Scotland after taking a step closer to realising his dream of representing England.

The 23-year-old last week earned his first call-up to Gareth Southgate’s senior squad for upcoming friendlies against Brazil and Belgium later this month.

Gordon has Scottish paternal grandparents and there was interest from north of the border in convincing him to switch allegiances having played for England at Under-18s, Under-19s, Under-20s and Under-21s level.

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But the Newcastle winger said: “It was never a thought for me. That’s no disrespect to Scotland, that’s all. I’ve been tunnel-visioned on playing for England since I was five or six years old.

“Nothing could ever shake that off. I could never forgive myself if I hadn’t got to this point. Like I said, it is just a dream I’ve had from so young, so nothing else has ever entered my mind at any time.”

Explaining his love affair with England in more detail, Gordon continued: “I think I’ve always just wanted to be at the very top of football. I think that’s every kid’s dream who likes football. I think as a young English kid, that is the pinnacle to play for your country so it is no extra motivation or a great story but just that.

“The tournament that sticks in my mind is when [Daniel] Sturridge scored against Wales [in Euro 2016]. That was actually a bit late [in my memory], but that was where I was coming of age and really taking notice of football and just remember that goal for some reason. I celebrated like mad.

“For me, [the players I looked at] was always [Wayne] Rooney and [Steven] Gerrard because there were from similar areas. I always used to run around the garden from the youngest age I can remember and try and recreate goals, create my own types of goals. I looked up to them massively.”

Gordon was named Player of the Tournament as England beat Spain to win the European Under-21s Championship.

“The standard of the under-21s is so high,” he said. “Our team was a really, really good team. A lot of them played Premier League week in, week out at some big clubs. Being in those environments, wanting to showcase what you can do, prepares you for this environment and I’m very thankful for all the experiences I had with the youth teams.

“Me coming through the youth systems, being able to see the progression not just in the senior team but in the youth teams as well. Everything we were doing in terms of the analysis of teams, our training, everything just kept improving year on year. I’ve just seen with the first team, they’ve just got better and better and better and we’re probably in the strongest position we have been in for a long time.”