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History

The Iron Vault: International Players #14

22 April 2020

Today's Iron Vault article sees us look back to an international Scunthorpe United player, who made an appearance for his country while on the books with the club.

At the time of writing, in total, the Iron have had 15 full internationally capped players make appearances for their country during their time with the club, totalling 43 caps.

We've already taken a look at Grant McCann, who tops the list with 12 caps, and Scott Wiseman who took advantage of his mum making him eligible to play for Gibraltar to take three caps while at the club. This time, we look at the player currently listed in 14th, with a single cap to his name during his short stint at Scunthorpe.

We'd be forgiven for saying we had Andrew Crofts at United as he came towards the end of his playing career, although that said he is listed as a player / Under-23s coach three years later.

Where Wales is concerned, Crofts has heavily featured over the years, making no fewer than 47 appearances for his country across the levels. He made his senior debut under John Toshack at 21 years, 4 months and 13 days, but he already had a heavy amount of international experience by then, gaining eight caps for the Under-19s before a further 10 and one goal for the Under-21s.

That debut came in October 2005 in a home win against Azerbaijan. He got 23 minutes in that match as a 67th minute substitute - and his career on the international stage looked to have ended 12 years later in the same fashion.

Looking at his total international record, it does seem like a story of what could have been. Despite making a total of 29 senior appearances for the Dragons, there were a total of 68 games during the period he's been active in which he wasn't in the squad. Many of these were due to injuries, with two significant spells on the sidelines due to cruciate ligament ruptures meaning he'd miss out on World Cup and European qualification matches, as well as friendlies.

His cap, while at the club, was as follows...

SEASON DATE COMP OPPOSITION H/A SCORELINE
2017-18 Nov 14, 2017 Friendly Panama H D1-1

The game he did play while at the Iron currently goes down as his final on the international stage, coming in a 1-1 draw against Panama in November 2017.

He came on as a 67th minute subsitute at the Cardiff City Stadium, received a yellow card in the 80th minute and completed the 23 minutes on the pitch to earn his 29th cap. He was on the pitch when Wales took the lead with 15 minutes left to play. He almost doubled the advantage himself with a thunderous effort somehow kept out of the net.

Wales would concede late on and draw 1-1 at the Cardiff City Stadium.

The then-33-year-old was originally on the stand-by list and replaced Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey in the squad after he had to pull out. As a result of his call-up, he missed the FA Cup first round replay against Northampton Town, which United won 1-0.

The match was the final of six he was eligible to play in while he was with Scunthorpe, missing matches against Austria, Moldova, Georgia, Ireland and France.

OVERALL...

Looking at his international career as a whole, Crofts enjoyed a great spell in the side, but would play just once between October 2013 and 2017 when he made that appearance while at Scunthorpe.

Before it though, would come a number of showings for the country, especially while he was at Gillingham and Norwich City.

Despite a total of 1,299 minutes as a senior international player, Crofts never managed a goal. 713 of those minutes were in international friendlies, while 478 came in UEFA EURO qualification. The final 108 minutes were in World Cup qualification matches.


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