WITH his dream of making it to the Bundesliga in tatters, and his ambition to even establish himself in German football at all with Hamburg hanging by a thread after they missed out on promotion, the last thing that David Bates needed as he took stock at the end of last season was doubts arising around his international career too.

Perhaps that is what prompted the newly appointed Scotland manager Steve Clarke to pick up the phone and assure the former Rangers defender that even though injury had ruled him out of his Clarke's Scotland squad, he still very much had a future with the national side.

And given Bates’s situation at that time, the gesture may well turn out to be an example of a very timely piece of man-management, and a gesture that meant a lot to a player who had much on his mind.

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“I was disappointed with the injury and knew I’d miss the summer camp,” Bates said.

“Being the gaffer’s first camp and first games it was disappointing, but he called me and said that I shouldn’t be too down as that’s football.

“It was good because when you get an injury your head can be a bit all over the place.

“To get a call like that settles you and makes you want to work hard to get back into the team.

“I didn’t know he was going to phone me, so it was a good phone call to get. It shows the type of character he is. It was good for me.

“It’s a good example of man management. For him to phone me and say that settled me in my head and made me work harder to get fit again.”

Bates was grateful then that after initially being left out of the squad for the forthcoming games against Russia and Belgium, Clarke’s name flashed up on his phone screen once more over the weekend.

“I knew I hadn’t played much as I’d been out with the injury and then I moved to Sheffield Wednesday,” he said. “In a way I thought I probably wouldn’t get in the squad.

“But he phoned me on Saturday night and to get that opportunity to represent your country is great. I was chuffed.”

Bates is saddened that his German adventure has been put on hold, temporarily at least, but he is hoping to use the loan move to Wednesday as a platform to prove his ability to the new management team put in place at Hamburg.

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"I got injured in the second last game of last season,” he said.

"I was out during the break and then in the off-season, so it wasn't good timing.

"A new manager and sporting director came in during that period. It happens in football. They brought in new players and they were very open with me.

"The manager said I could go elsewhere if I wanted to as my time on the park would be limited. The manager being so open with me was miles better than just waiting to see if I could get a shot.

"He hadn't seen me much, so I decided I wanted to go and play as many games as I can.

"I am young and I also had Scotland in the back of my mind, as I want to be in the squad. I had to make a decision for my own career.

"It went well for me last season. I played around 25 games, did well and enjoyed it.

"I came out of the team towards the end of the season but things had gone well up until the last eight games.

"It slipped away in the end, we never took our chances and won enough games.

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"The main goal was promotion and it was disappointing to miss out by one point in the end.

"As an experience, Hamburg was really good. I went over there and settled really well. I enjoyed every minute of it. I wouldn't change any of it. The training was good and so were the boys.

"As it stands, I am at Sheffield Wednesday and I want to play as many games as I can.

"A season is a long time in football, so anything can happen. I am just concentrating on the season ahead.”