Strachan’s Scotland Squads Leave Many Scratching Their Heads


So Gordon Strachan has called up two squads for Scotland’s up coming friendlies against the Czech Republic and Denmark. Both games will take place later this month.

The squads are as follows:

To face Czech Republic

Goalkeepers: Scott Bain (Dundee), Allan McGregor Hull City).

Defenders: Christophe Berra (Ipswich Town), Gordon Greer (Brighton), Alan Hutton (Aston Villa), Russell Martin (Norwich City), Charlie Mulgrew (Celtic), Andrew Robertson (Hull City), Steven Whittaker (Norwich City).

Midfielders: Ikechi Anya (Watford), Barry Bannan (Sheff Wed), Darren Fletcher (WBA), Kevin McDonald (Wolves), Kenny McLean (Aberdeen), Matt Phillips (QPR), Robert Snodgrass (Hull City).

Forwards: Steven Fletcher (Marseille), Steven Naismith (Norwich City), Tony Watt (Blackburn Rovers).

To face Denmark:

Goalkeepers: Craig Gordon (Celtic), David Marshall (Cardiff City)

Defenders: Ikechi Anya (Watford), Liam Cooper (Leeds United), Gordon Greer (Brighton) Grant Hanley, (Blackburn Rovers), Charlie Mulgrew (Celtic), Kieran Tierney (Celtic), Steven Whittaker (Norwich City).

Midfielders: Liam Bridcutt (Leeds United), Scott Brown (Celtic), Oliver Burke (Nottingham Forest), James Forrest (Celtic),
John McGinn (Hibernian), Jamie Murphy (Brighton), Matt Ritchie (Bournemouth).

Forwards: Steven Fletcher (Marseille), Leigh Griffiths (Celtic), Chris Martin (Derby).

Now lets get to the first thing, this isn’t exactly two squads. We have Steven Whittaker, Gordon Greer, Charlie Mulgrew, Ikechi Anya and Steven Fletcher in both squads. All players we know what they’ll give us.

I don’t mind a bit of mix between experienced and youth but I think we should have two completely different squads.

The first thing I noticed is our complete lack of depth when it comes to central defenders we have at our disposal.

Why have we got Greer in both squads? He’s thirty-five and he’s only played once since boxing day! We’ve also got Charlie Mulgrew in for both games and his season has been plagued with injuries.

Surely we could’ve seen either Mark Reynolds or Andrew Considine (both of Abredeen) picked for one of the games. Both are starring in a Dons team fighting for the Premiership title.

It’s slightly surprising that only one Aberdeen player actually makes either squad. Kenny McLean is a talented midfielder and deserves his chance but experienced under 21 stalwart Ryan Jack must be wondering why he can’t get a place ahead of Liam Bridcutt.

Why has Gordon decided to use Anya as a full-back for the Denmark game? He’s played just once at right-back all season and we have plenty of cover for left-back with in form Lee Wallace and another Aberdeen star in Graeme Shinnie not included in either squad.

We’ve got great cover for left-backs but serious look short in right backs as we still rely on Steven Whittaker and Alan Hutton!

Apart from Lee Wallace I think Rangers duo Barrie Mackay and Jason Holt are unlucky not to receive a call up. I think it’s a close thing between Holt and Hibs man John McGinn, so at least one of them will get a chance to prove themselves at this level. Hearts youngster Jamie Walker must be in and around these squads too.

The inclusion of James Forrest just out and out baffles me. Mackay has had a terrific season in the Championship with Rangers and has improved greatly under Mark Warburton. The twenty-one year old has played twenty four times for his side this season and against Dundee he looked like a standout. Yet Forrest has started juct once in 2016 and looks to be sitting behind Gary Mackay-Steven and Stuart Armstrong in the Celtic pecking order.

Now some might say that Strachan is doing Gers a favour considering they are fighting to secure three titles. But Barrie Mackay has been selected for the under-21s.

Hopefully we get to see Matt Philips shine in a Scotland jersey. I was worried he was on Strachan’s naughty list!

Talking of that naughty list I wonder what Burnly’s George Boyd has done to see himself constantly omitted from squads.

You then look at the forwards.

We have Steven Fletcher in both squads. Again a player we all know what he can do… Strachan told us that Wallace, Shinnie, Jordan Rhodes and Co didn’t get included because he knew what they could offer.

In that respect it seems like Gordon just doesn’t like what Rhodes has to offer. The striker completed a £9m move to Middlesbrough in January and has eleven Championship goals to his name this season. Yet Strachan has decided to call up his replacement at Blackburn Tony Watt up instead.

Now I don’t mind having another look at Watt but he’s only scored six Championship goals this term and that’s with three different sides! Much has been made of his commitment and behaviour issues.

Fulham’s Ross McCormack is anther forward full of goals in the English Championship yet gets overlooked again.

In all honesty I’ve never seen Chris Martin have a good game for Scotland but hopefully that changes soon. It will be criminal if Strachan doesn’t start in form Leigh Griffiths.

I am glad Barry Bannan has earned a recall. He seems to be settled at Sheffield Wednesday and has them ticking along nicely.

It will be interesting to see what Liam Cooper and youngster Oliver Burke can provide to this unit. It’s also nice to see Robert Snodgrass back in a Scotland squad.

But all in all these squad selections throw up more questions than answers. They show up our weaknesses and it gives us the impression that Strachan picks players on whims and he has his own personal favourites that will be picked no matter what.

Is that really what Scotland needs at this moment? Surely we need to look more at form and have an eye to the future?

God what would we give for a bloody good young(ish) centre back!

One Response to “Strachan’s Scotland Squads Leave Many Scratching Their Heads”

  1. He’s some Centre-backs who I think should get a look-in ahead of the ageing Greer.

    Russell Martin(Norwich), Grant Hanley(Blackburn), Mark Reynolds(Aberdeen), Andy Considine(Aberdeen), Christophe Berra(Ipswich), Liam Cooper(Leeds), Jordan McGhee(Hearts), John Souttar(Hearts), Danny Wilson(Rangers) and Ash Taylor(Aberdeen) I know he’s Welsh but he qualifies for Scotland through the grandparent rule and is reportedly “keen to represent Scotland”

    I’m similarly perplexed by Strachan’s selections. The only player who I’d disagree with you about is Liam Bridcutt who has looked fantastic whenever I’ve seen him. He never really kicked off at Sunderland but I think that is less to do with him and more to do with the situation and managers at Sunderland. I’d like to have seen Ryan Jack too though.

    I’ve no idea what Oliver Burke has done to deserve his place. The 18 year old doesn’t even have 20 professional games under his belt and could have easily been chosen for the u19s or u21s.

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