How On Earth Can Matt Phillips Not Get Into The Scotland Squad?


Watching Matt Phillips against Manchester United this evening and I’m struggling to see why the attacking wide-man can’t get into Gordon Strachan’s Scotland squad more regularly.

It’s a thought I’ve had anytime I’ve seen the West Bromwich Albion man this season.

He joined the Baggies in the summer, signing in a £5.5m deal from QPR, and has looked very decent in the English Premier League so far in this campaign. 

Since arriving at the Hawthorns, Phillips has scored three goals and created five assists in his sixteen league appearances.

Matt’s adept enough with both feet, that he can play on either wing and he’s often allowed to change flanks during games. He does look a bigger threat on the left and that’s where he seems to create more chances from.

The twenty-five year old has a great cross on him, highlighted mid-week against Swansea and with a ball he put in against Man United in the first half earlier today.

Phillips also has a decent turn of pace, will look for the ball and is quite good at keeping the ball moving. It seems as though he has also added that extra bit of consistency into his game.

Surely these are all traits we need in our Scotland team at the moment.

But for some reason Strachan just doesn’t seem convinced by the forward.

Phillips last represented Scotland back in May, when he started against Italy to win only his fourth cap in four years.

As Scotland have struggled to do anything of note in their World Cup qualifying group, Phillips hasn’t even managed to make a squad.

Strahan has stated in the past that he doesn’t pick certain player because he wants more height in his side. At six foot one, Matty is taller than his Scottish wing counterparts. So he’s not missing because of his height, plus it should be noted that he’s actually fairly good in the air.

So is it something to do with his work-rate?

Well he’s playing for a club team that’s managed by Tony Pulis. The Welsh boss doesn’t suffer fools gladly, he wants players that are willing to graft for the team. Phillips does track-back (he burst a gut on the 78th minute to fill in at left-back against United when WBA were 2-0 down) and will make a tackle when he has to.

So I don’t think Gordon is overlooking him because he doesn’t give you a shift.

His confidence must be high after his big move, his run of form and the fact his club are currently seventh in the Premier League.

Maybe Gordon Strachan just has his favourites or just doesn’t fancy Matt Phillips.

But it’s coming to a point in the Scotland manager’s reign that he needs to see that some of those ‘teacher’s pets’ haven’t been good enough and that he can’t continue to overlook the form players, especially not ones starring in one of Europe’s elite leagues.

It’s just one of many incidents that have left the Tartan Army scratching their heads as they try and figure out what their manager is doing.

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