Feast or famine is a phrase that will strike a chord with all managers. However, for Scotland boss Gordon Strachan, the problem is especially acute.
A succession of injury problems long and short-term has left the new national coach facing a selection headache ahead of the trip to Croatia at the start of June.
“We are definitely short in some areas at the moment,” he said with a sigh.
“If you take central midfield, for example, we are really stretched with Liam Bridcutt practically the only fit body we have.
“We could also do with more cover for the central defensive positions.”
Strachan is pessimistic about his chances of unearthing previously undiscovered talent in the mould of Bridcutt, the Brighton midfielder who earned his first cap in last month’s defeat in Serbia.
And he would welcome assistance in finding new talent from any source even journalists!
“We send the scouts around the country and, at the moment, there is nothing there,” insisted Strachan.
“You give me four players I’ve not seen. Tell me about them.
“If you do, I’ll go and watch them.
“But if we sit here just now and decided to select 26 players, I guarantee we’d have no more than 30 different names.
“That’s where we are at the moment.
“There are too many players who are in and out of their respective club teams.
“If I go and watch Premiership games, I’m normally watching the bench.”
Provided Strachan can cobble together some players to protect keeper Allan McGregor, though, the country might just be on to something as there is no shortage of attacking options.
“If you could only play players that play off the striker we’d have a great team,” said the national coach.
“We have a lovely band of guys who can play the position,” the Scotland manager continued.
“I am talking about the likes of Robert Snodgrass, Kris Commons, Shaun Maloney, Chris Burke, Steven Naismith, Ross McCormack and James Forrest.
“Gary Mackay-Steven of Dundee United is another player who would potentially come into the equation.
“He is a young boy but he is an exciting talent.”
The national manager was speaking at the announcement of the PFA Scotland awards for the season.
He didn’t come up with a definitive candidate for Manager of the Year, but among those he had praise for was his assistant coach, Stuart McCall.
“I didn’t know Stuart before he joined us,” he admitted.
“I asked about, just to see who could help us.
“Stuart was recommended to me as someone who knows the Scottish game, who sees it week in, week out so he can give us the inside track.
“He has been great. His knowledge is good and he has got a good way with people.
“He probably found that first double-header against Wales and Serbia nerve-wracking like the rest of us, as he was finding his way around.
“But it’s good to have him about.”
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