Tommy will Wark in famous footsteps
TOMMY Miller will bridge an international gap of more than 20 years if he appears at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff next week.The 25-year-old midfielder will become the first Ipswich player to represent Scotland since Town legend John Wark in November 1983, when he won the last of his 26 caps while on the Portman Road payroll.
By Mel Henderson
TOMMY Miller will bridge an international gap of more than 20 years if he appears at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff next week.
The 25-year-old midfielder will become the first Ipswich player to represent Scotland since Town legend John Wark in November 1983, when he won the last of his 26 caps while on the Portman Road payroll.
Miller's elevation to the senior squad for Wednesday's friendly clash with Wales came as a total shock to the Easington-born star.
He admitted: “It came right out of the blue. I knew I was in a provisional squad, but when I heard the news I was still taken aback.”
Miller is one of four new faces in Berti Vogts' latest squad, alongside Blackburn striker Paul Gallagher, Reading defender Graeme Murty and Wigan winger Gary Teale, who terrorised Town in his side's 3-1 win last weekend.
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Vogts checked on the Town star in last month's 1-1 draw at Reading when, by his own admission, Miller turned in a below-par display.
He said: “I had a spell on the right that day, but was mostly on the left, and I didn't think I had done that well.
“I had received a phone call on the Friday to tell me that Berti would be at the game, but I didn't think about it too much. I didn't want to put myself under any extra pressure.
“If he liked what he saw, fine. I am looking forward to the game in Wales and if I enjoy the experience I will want more of it. I know it's up to me.”
Miller was contacted by the Scottish Football Association to ask for his vital statistics, so he will have a suit waiting for him when he reports for duty.
He is angry that some recent reports suggested he did not feel Scottish enough to take up Vogts' invitation, adding: “I don't know where these stories came from.
“I have always been positive about Scotland. To be honest I feel more Scottish than some players who have won caps over the years.
“I qualify through my grandmother - that's my father's mother - and her name is Nancy McNally. That's Scottish, isn't it? She's from Kirkcaldy.
“I've got to be realistic about my chances of playing international football. England is a million miles away for me.
“Who knows where this will lead? I look at the example of ex-Ipswich skipper Matt Holland, who threw in his lot with the Republic of Ireland and couldn't have known what lay in store.
“Now look at him. He's a regular, he's played and scored in the World Cup finals and he's also captained them. I'm not saying that will happen to me, but it will spur me on.”
But Miller can also see the funny side of being selected by the Scots and has had to contend with the usual sort of mickey-taking by his club colleagues.
He will set off at the weekend with the words to the anthem Flower of Scotland and intends to learn them ahead of Wednesday's friendly clash.