Quick links



Celtic had month-long interest in Scotland winger Ikechi Anya

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan is baffled that Watford FC winger Ikechi Anya is not playing at a higher level.

Late-bloomer Ikechi Anya proved to be the most effective Scotsman on the Dortmund pitch recently when Scotland dropped a 2-1 loss to World Cup winners Germany in what was a tight qualifier for the European Championships in 2016.

While Thomas Muller's brace dominated headlines across Europe, Anya's display caught the attention of Scotland boss Gordon Strachan, the nation and also throughout the British media - it was Anya who equalished for his country after Muller's first half opener, whose pace and adept wing-play confounded the World Champions.

"The coaching staff scratch our heads at times and wonder why he is not playing in the English Premier League," said Strachan, who believes he operates at a level superior to the Championship standard that surrounds his current employer; Watford.

"There is no doubt about it. He could go to a Celtic or to a club in the English Premier League no bother. He can play different positions, too, which makes him even more valuable. He can play on the left as he did against Germany, he can play on the right side, he can even play left-back. He has not got a problem with any of them."

On the manner in which he ran with the ball at his feet for a long distance before beating the consensus best goalkeeper in the world in Manuel Neuer, Strachan said: "When he was running through I thought to myself: “Right, you’ve just sprinted for 30 yards and now you’re up against the best goalie in the world” but he stuck it away as if it was in a training game.

"The ball hasn’t trickled into the back of the net either, he knew exactly what he was doing," he said.

While Strachan cannot get his head around Anya competing with Watford in the Championship, the winger could have feasibly been a Celtic star, as the Parkhead side had a "month-long interest" in the 26-year-old earlier this summer.

According to the Daily Mail, "Celtic discussed the Watford [player] before the window closed."

If he keeps up his current performance level then it stands to logic that the giants of Scottish football could return for the attacker with a mid-season bid, when the transfer market reopens for trading in January.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch