Gothenburg Great is driving force behind new national recruit

Jim Leighton

Scotland’s Jordan Archer has credited former Aberdeen goalkeeper Jim Leighton with helping him earn his first call-up to the national side.

Millwall’s Archer was last week selected by Gordon Strachan for the upcoming World Cup qualifying double-header against Lithuania and Malta, having impressed as first choice for the London outfit after their promotion to the Championship last season.

Archer won 14 caps for Scotland under-21s, where Leighton was his goalkeeping coach, and the 24-year-old says the Gothenburg Great has been a big influence on his career.

Archer said: “I was lucky in the under-21s to have a great goalkeeping coach in Jim. He had a fantastic career and I learned a lot from him.

“I feel I owe him. When I came into the under-21s, he really welcomed me and he always said he felt I had the ability to push on. That gave me confidence and now eventually this senior squad call-up has come.

“I was on the phone to Jim to thank him. He returned the favour, congratulated me and told me to go and enjoy it.

“He has been keeping tabs on my progress. I’ve been in contact with him frequently. He’s a good guy.”

London-born Archer qualifies to play for Scotland through his mother and the former Tottenham goalkeeper says the call-up is a dream come true for his family.

Archer and Hull City’s Allan McGregor will challenge first-choice Craig Gordon and he added: “I’m honoured to be here. Ever since I left the under-21 setup it has been my aim to get a call-up and now I’m here. I’m delighted.

“I found out after we played Nottingham Forest recently. Jim Stewart is the Scotland goalkeeping coach and I got a phone call.

“After that call, I had a big grin on my face. I went straight on the phone to my mum and she was really pleased, too.

“My mum has the Scottish connection. Her parents are from Clydebank and I’ve got uncles spread around here.

“My grandparents moved from Scotland to Stevenage in Hertfordshire. That’s where my mum was raised.

“She said she had a tear in her eye when I told her about the call-up. It’s a proud moment for my whole family.

“I was raised in London so I was an Arsenal supporter. I followed Scottish football from a young age and still keep an eye on it.

“I flew up and was the first one here. I think I got in about 3.30pm on Sunday.

“I went in and introduced myself to the manager. All the boys have made me feel very welcome.”