Will Scott McDonald finally break his international duck - or will this be the end of his international career once and for all?
When Socceroos coach Holger Osieck selected Scott McDonald for next week's friendly against Scotland he would have known that his decision would have raised more than a few eyebrows.
With no goals in 25 appearances for the national team, the striker's inability to replicate his prolific club scoring record on the international stage has become well-known. Before every game in which he has been picked, much of the pre-match debate has focused on whether this is the time he will finally get that monkey off his back.
Having waited on the sideline for much of it, I have now decided to summon myself from the bench and enter the fray. He will score against Scotland or he will never score for the Socceroos, as he is unlikely to get another chance.
This may not be fair on the Middlesbrough man as he is capable of more than just goals but his performances without them seem to suffer greatly. During his highly successful stint at Celtic, he scored goals by the truckload and his all round play was also excellent. His movement, his link-up and ability to be in the right place at the right time was outstanding. In contrast with the weight of failing to score for the Socceroos hanging round his neck, these have all been lacking on the international stage.
Many have offered their insights as to why he has struggled for the Socceroos. Most have pointed to the differences between the style of football in the Scottish Premier League and English Championship, where McDonald has played and scored regularly, and that of international football.
This could provide part of the reason. International football is indeed very different from the hurly burly world of the SPL but he showed in his time at Celtic that he can score against the best in Europe. McDonald hit the back of the net against both AC Milan and Manchester United in the Champions League and was a regular thorn in the side of Old Firm rivals Rangers. If you can score against the best club teams in the world in the best competition, scoring on the international stage is unlikely to be daunting.
In his most successful season at Celtic, where he netted 31 goals, he was partnered in attack by the muscular target man Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink in a front two. The Socceroos rarely play with a front two but the Middlesbrough man has been partnered on occasions with the towering Josh Kennedy and has still failed to produce his best.
Perhaps the biggest contrast to his time at Celtic, and to a lesser extent Middlesbrough, to the Socceroos was his start. Within 10 matches McDonald had hit six goals for Celtic and at Middlesbrough he scored in his fifth appearance after a January switch to the Teesside club. Questions about his ability to score goals were never raised. When he first came into the Socceroos, it was expected he would score regularly. When he didn't, his club scoring form made it seem more of bigger deal than perhaps it was.
The good news for McDonald is that next week's game is in Scotland. This is the country where his career took off. He had never reached double figures before in his time in England but after six seasons in the SPL he scored at a rate of just under a goal every two games. In a further boost, he has also scored twice before at Easter Road, where the match is to be played.
If he does get his opportunity and does not make the most of it, you can rest assured that there will no one more disappointed than himself. This is a player who knocked back an offer of over $140,000 a week from Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal in the hope of fulfilling his dream of playing in the English Premier League - he is a real footballer. I for one desperately hope that Scotland can once again be a launching pad for McDonald. However, this time it is his international career that is in desperate need of take off.
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