CLARKE’S KEEN TO MEET MIKE

Sunday Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - Rugby Union - BY GOR­DON WAD­DELL BY PAUL O’HE­HIR

STEVE CLARKE is renowned for know­ing his own mind – but that won’t stop him look­ing for ad­vice from his pre­de­ces­sors and peers.

The new Scot­land boss wants a clear run at the June dou­ble-header but af­ter that he’s go­ing to be lis­ten­ing and learn­ing as he goes.

He said: “I got a mes­sage from Alex McLeish, I’ve heard from North­ern Ire­land man­ager Michael O’Neill – there a lot of peo­ple I want to speak to over the com­ing weeks and months, af­ter this first camp, though.

“I’m go­ing to blun­der my way through this one my­self.

“But Michael wants to have a chat, I’d like to sit down at some stage with Wal­ter Smith, who did very well with the na­tional team, I’ll speak to Alex – he’s a great guy – and Gor­don Stra­chan.

“I also know Dan Ash­worth, who’s just left the Eng­land set-up to go to Brighton and I’ll sit down with him and find out what they did with the English teams be­cause their young sides are do­ing fan­tas­ti­cally well, they’ve got a great path­way.

“I’ll try to get a chat with Gareth South­gate as well and try to steal some of his se­crets be­cause his team have also done pretty well.”

Clarke has al­ready had a sit-down with per­for­mance di­rec­tor Malky Mackay but in­sists he’ll be fo­cus­ing strictly on the na­tional team rather than what lies be­neath.

He said: “I got the tin tack from West Brom af­ter we’d played Malky’s Cardiff side – and if we’d won he was get­ting the sack! It was one of those games.

“I know him pro­fes­sion­ally, not per­son­ally, but we’d a chat this week and we’ll find a way to work to­gether for the ben­e­fit of the na­tion.” BO­HEMI­ANS goal­keeper James Tal­bot was drafted into the Repub­lic of Ire­land squad last night.

The ex-Sun­der­land man is on fire this sea­son and an­swers Mick McCarthy’s SOS call fol­low­ing in­jury to Mark Travers on Wed­nes­day.

Tal­bot, 22, will pro­vide cover for Dar­ren Ran­dolph and Sean McDer­mott in the Euro 2020 qual­i­fiers against Den­mark on June 7 and Gi­bral­tar on June 10.

But he won’t be join­ing the squad at their train­ing camp in Por­tu­gal and will in­stead link up with the panel in Dublin on Tues­day.

Tal­bot (above) will be re­leased for the Gyp­sies’ league game against Finn Harps on Fri­day be­fore re­join­ing the Ir­ish squad.

McCarthy said: “We’ve had a cou­ple of in­juries to goal­keep­ers and Caoimhin Kelle­her is go­ing to the Toulon Tour­na­ment with the Un­der-21s.

“We’ve brought in James Tal­bot due to his re­cent form. Our goal­keep­ing coach, Alan Kelly, kept an eye on the lad and he’s done very well.”

Bris­tol City goal­keeper Max O’Leary has also been drafted in­but he is not yet el­i­gi­ble for com­pet­i­tive games.

BOSS TO BOSS

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