Alexander - is it the end?

Last updated : 18 November 2007 By Tony Scholes
Graham Alexander
That was certainly the case with Steve Cotterill's final Burnley signing Graham Alexander, but just over six months after his 30th birthday he was given a Scotland debut as a substitute against Nigeria.

He came on at half time for Gary Stockdale and a month later won his first start against South Korea, a game played as a warm up for the World Cup 2002 joint hosts. Bertie Vogts was manager at the time but he's retained his place in the squad under the management of both Walter Smith and Alex McLeish.

Yesterday he was an unused substitute as Scotland suffered heartbreak with a defeat at Hampden Park against Italy that ended their hopes of qualifying for next summer's European Championships to be held in Austria and Switzerland and with it his international career might just have come to an end.

When the Scots next take to the field in competitive action it will be in the qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup and given that those finals will be played not too long before Alexander is 39 it is very likely that McLeish will move on and look at younger players for those qualifiers.

If so, he can look back at an astonishing international career that, despite the late start, brought no fewer than 32 caps with all but seven of them being starts.