Caldwell happy to exit midfield role

  • Last Updated: August 16 2012, 16:06 BST

Gary Caldwell enjoyed his foray into midfield for Scotland's 3-1 friendly victory over Australia - but he hopes he never has to play there during the upcoming World Cup campaign.

Gary Caldwell: Delighted with performance against Australia

Caldwell captained the team at Easter Road in the absence of Darren Fletcher, who stepped up his fight against a bowel condition by playing for Manchester United in Neil Simpson's testimonial at Pittodrie on Tuesday.

With Celtic captain Scott Brown resting a hip injury, Caldwell also replaced Fletcher in the holding midfield role in the final warm-up before Scotland open their Brazil 2014 campaign against Serbia on September 8.

Craig Levein's experiment proved successful as Caldwell was comfortable on the ball and his awareness to cover allowed his team-mates to get forward and put Australia under concerted pressure.

Charlie Adam and Shaun Maloney were given licence to get forward from central midfield and full-backs Alan Hutton and Danny Fox both pushed forward, with the latter setting up Scotland's first two goals as they banished memories of their 5-1 defeat by the United States in May.

Caldwell said: "I think I allowed the full-backs especially to bomb on and Foxy set up the first two goals with great deliveries into the box. Hutts got forward, first half especially, really well.

"I thought we passed the ball well, we were really up for the game and it was a good boost going into the qualifiers.

"It was a good exercise, I thought we started on the front foot and played very well for the whole night and deserved to win the game.

"We said after the game in the USA there were reasons for the performance and I think we've shown that, if we're at it, we are a good side. We need to take that performance into the qualifiers and try and build on that."

Caldwell has established himself as centre-back for Wigan but the midfield position is by no means alien to the 30-year-old at domestic or international level.

But when asked if he might play there at some point during the qualifying campaign, the former Hibernian and Celtic player said: "I hope not. I hope the boys are back.

"We've got loads of good midfielders and unfortunately for this one we had a lot of call-offs in that area and the manager asked me to do a job.

"I'm happy to do it but hopefully we have got all the boys back for the next game."

Caldwell said on the eve of the match that Scotland would show their strength in depth with the likes of Barry Robson, Kenny Miller, Phil Bardsley, James Forrest, Graham Dorrans and Jamie Mackie also unavailable.

His faith was vindicated with Jordan Rhodes scoring a superb diving header on his first start and Ross McCormack coming off the bench to end a lengthy international exile with a well-taken strike.

Caldwell said: "You could put a list of names, guys who weren't here, who can count themselves unlucky through injury not to be here.

"We've got a big group of players to pick from and that can only be good.

"There are injuries and suspensions throughout the course of a campaign and we are going to need everyone throughout the next two years to help us qualify."

Caldwell was delighted with the impact of Rhodes, who had other half-chances and took his goalscoring record at club and under-21 level on to the bigger stage.

"I thought he was great," Caldwell said. "On your debut you are always excited and nervous, it's a big moment in your career, and I thought he was excellent.

"It's difficult to lead the line. Kenny Miller has done it for years and done it very well.

"I'm sure the next trip he will be back and he can help him and give him guidance on how to play it, but it was great to see him get his goal.

"He worked for it, he had a few chances earlier and it would have been very easy to hide after that but he kept putting himself in positions, and if he does that he is going to score goals."