The Whitley Bay-born Newcastle United player, who has a Scottish grandmother, has played at youth level for both Scotland and England. The 20-year-old was called up by the Scotland boss for the first time for the Euro 2024 qualifier against Cyprus in Larnaca on Friday and the challenge match against England at Hampden Park next week after deciding against switching allegiance to England following positive discussions with Clarke. However, Anderson officially withdrew from the squad on Wednesday night after picking up an injury in training.
Asked at the pre-match media conference in Cyprus if he had sought any assurances from Anderson, the Scotland boss said: "No. He just went home." The Scotland boss had already been asked if he had any fears surrounding international allegiances, and had said: "It is not something I can control. There's not a lot I can do about it. Obviously (disappointing not to have the chance to work with Elliot), that's why we brought him into the squad. Disappointing to lose Elliot and Liam (Kelly) on the same day but that's part and parcel of international football, you deal with it. Obviously we had to replaced Liam because we couldn't come with two goalkeepers so we brought in young Robby (McCrorie). who has been part of the squad before, he understands. We didn't need to replace Elliot because we have enough midfielders."
Scotland top Group A with four wins from four and have gone eight competitive games without defeat. An expected victory against Cyprus, who were beaten 3-0 at Hampden Park, could see Scotland qualify for a second successive Euros next Tuesday if results elsewhere go their way. However, Clarke - whose side is expected to be backed by around 6,000 fans in a stadium which has a capacity of 8,058 - played down the exciting prospect of going to Germany next summer.
He said: "I am not really the excitable kind, am I? Just concentrating on the game coming up. The players are in a good place, they are a good place in the group. At halfway we have maximum points, you can't do much better than that. Some of the moments within the game we can improve on. We don't think for a minute that we are the finished article, we will look to improve and the players have said that we will.
"We want to keep improving and improving but always respect the opponent. It will be difficult. They are a proud team, proud to represent their country, Cyprus. They are always difficult opponents for us. Two late goals probably put a little gloss on the scoreline (at Hampden) so we expect a tough game."
Much is being made of the high temperatures in Cyprus but Clarke was relaxed about the 9.45pm local time kick-off. He said: "When we came off the plane last night at the back of 10 the conditions were OK. It was pretty hot in Norway when we went there so we have some experience and it was nice and sunny in Glasgow when we left so you just have to deal with the conditions as they are and make sure we get the result that we want."