'I'm still working on fitness' - City star glad for international duty
PUBLISHED: 23:05 18 March 2019 | UPDATED: 09:41 19 March 2019
Kenny McLean is making up for lost time - and he hopes his Scotland return will be the ideal precursor to Norwich City's crucial Championship run-in.
A niggling ankle injury restricted the 27-year-old January 2018 signing to just one Championship start by the time McLean returned to Daniel Farke’s XI at Bolton in mid February.
Since then he has scored three goals, made three more and played every minute of City’s six league games – all of them resulting in wins for the Championship leaders.
Now McLean is also back in Alex McLeish’s Scotland squad for Euro 2020 qualification trips to Kazakhstan on Thursday as well as San Marino on Sunday, hoping to add to his five previous caps.
“Yeah, it does mean a lot to be back in it,” admitted McLean. “It’s been a frustrating season and I’ve not been involved in the last Scotland squads through injury, so it’s excellent.
“I’m sure some of the boys will enjoy their break, but I’ve not played much football this season so it’s good for me to keep the momentum that I have going, and I’m still working on a bit of fitness. It’s just six games in since I came back, so I’m just buzzing to be back.
“Personally it is a wee bit of making up for some lost time. And as a team here at Norwich, we’ve put ourselves in this position. So just now I’m back in the squad, I’m back in the team and I just want to help the team as much as I can.”
McLean spent the first six months of his time as a Norwich player loaned back to Scottish Premiership side Aberdeen – and since then, it’s hard to imagine his expectations of moving to City have been anything other than smashed out of the water.
“I think when I signed and when I saw the way we played, the expansive football, it was so exciting and attacking – I just wanted to be part of it; and since I’ve came it’s been excellent,” said McLean.
“I think even last season it was just about things clicking in the right place. Even when I was back up at Aberdeen I was watching a lot of the games and we were playing really well, but just maybe didn’t have that cutting edge.
“But this season we’ve been getting goals, Teemu (Pukki) has scored plenty but we’ve got them from all over the pitch.
“Everybody is chipping in and I think that’s the difference. We’ve got that cutting edge up front and in the final third, and it’s clicking.”
And once international duty is over, a trip to Middlesbrough kicks off the Canaries’ eight-game run-in that could yet provide the most thrilling of finales to a truly memorable season.
“We’ll all go away and the boys that have got time off will recharge their batteries,” added McLean. “We’ll come back and we’ll all be ready to go, there’s no doubt about it. We know how big the eight games are for the club, for the fans and everybody involved.”
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