Injury scare for City midfielder ahead of Arsenal clash

Scotland's Kenny McLean during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifying match at the Parken Stadium, Copen

Kenny McLean has made two appearances for Scotland during the international break - Credit: PA

Scotland boss Steve Clarke has confirmed that Kenny McLean is returning to Norwich City due to an injury picked up during Saturday’s win over Moldova. 

The Scottish FA confirmed this morning that McLean was one of three players having to pull out of the squad ahead of a crucial World Cup qualification clash in Austria on Tuesday night. 

Those absences were unexplained until manager Clarke held his pre-match press conference this lunchtime though and confirmed: "Nathan Patterson and Kenny McLean have injuries from the game.

"Such a short turnaround, difficult to get them back for this game, so they don't travel."

That comment suggests the injury issues were not serious, with the 29-year-old now travelling back to Norfolk for a full assessment with City’s medical team ahead of Saturday’s Premier League game at Arsenal. 

Clarke didn’t offer any further explanation, with McLean having replaced Canaries team-mate Billy Gilmour in the 73rd minute of the 1-0 win at Hampden Park. 

That was the former Aberdeen midfielder’s 21st cap having made three appearances for Norwich so far this season, also starting and playing 85 minutes of the 2-0 defeat in Denmark last Wednesday.

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The knee injury which forced him out of Scotland's squad ahead of the Euros restricted McLean to just two appearances as a substitute during pre-season.

He was an unused substitute during the 3-0 home loss to Liverpool but came on at half-time during the 5-0 loss at Manchester City which followed.

His first started came as Bournemouth were thrashed 6-0 at Carrow Road, starring with a goal and an assist before being taken off in the 71st minute.

“It’s great to have Kenny back,” Farke said after that cup success. “We need his energy and his physicality, his experience on the pitch."

The full 90 minutes followed in league action ahead of the international break, during a 2-1 home defeat to Leicester.

City team-mates Gilmour and Grant Hanley remain in the Scotland squad for the trip to Austria, a 7.45pm kick-off on Tuesday in Vienna.

If McLean is unavailable for the game at Emirates Stadium, Farke should have the central midfield options to cope with his absence, depending on any further issues arising.

As well as Gilmour, Farke should be able to choose from Pierre Lees-Melou, Lukas Rupp, Jacob Sorensen and new signing Mathias Normann, who is away with Norway and yet to train with Norwich since joining from Rostov.

City supporters may have to wait until Friday after for the City's pre-match press conference for the full situation, as Farke counts the bodies fit and ready for action after a hectic international break with 14 first-team players going away.

Most of the national action concludes for Canaries players on Tuesday night but Milot Rashica (Kosovo), Dimitris Giannoulis and Christos Tzolis (Greece) could play on Wednesday night, with striker Josh Sargent potentially in USA action in Honduras in the early hours of Thursday morning (UK time).

NCFC EXTRA: Scotland assistant heaps praise on Norwich City skipper

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