Scotland v USA: Gordon Strachan eyes friendly fringe benefits

By Alasdair LamontSenior football reporter, BBC Scotland
Interview - Scotland manager Gordon Strachan

Gordon Strachan says facing USA and Norway gives him a chance to reinforce his ideas on Scotland's style of play rather than revolutionise it.

The Scotland manager plans to give some less-established players a chance to impress, with central defence one area where he is keen to assess his options.

Ahead of Friday's game with the USA, he said: "It is always a result thing in our business but performance as well.

"And we can work on other things this week towards our long-term future."

Brighton's Gordon Greer could be handed his Scotland debut at the age of 32, while Christophe Berra might also make a return to central defence now that he is playing regularly again with Ipswich Town.

Norwich City's Russell Martin and Blackburn Rovers' Grant Hanley have established themselves at the heart of the Scotland rearguard under Strachan, but the manager wants to view the alternatives.

"We like the pairing, but we must prepare for one of them getting injured, so we need to find out now," said Strachan.

"But it's not going to be judged on one game, that's for sure - that wouldn't be fair."

Scotland finished a fruitless World Cup qualifying campaign with wins over Croatia and Macedonia.

"We will be reinforcing what we've been doing," said Strachan. "We thought about changing our system but thought it would be a bit confusing.

"If we've got one or two systems we can rely on for the next year or so, that's what we're looking for.

"We've not got enough time to set out a new style of play. We've got to use our time, we don't get much of it, and keep it as simple as we can for the players but effective at the same time.

"We'll try to do that without making it a farce for the crowd and the players themselves because, if you have too many changes, it can affect the players and the devalues the game."

Scotland were humiliated 5-1 in their last meeting with USA, in a friendly in May 2012 under previous coach Craig Levein.

And Strachan is looking forward to testing his rejuvenated team at Hampden against a side who have qualified for their seventh consecutive World Cup finals.

"I hope it will be a good one," he said. "They will be hoping it is a good one as well.

"They are 13th in the world. We have put on a friendly we think is attractive to the fans and the players of both sides.

"We think it is well worth their journey to get here and well worth us getting together.

"We are feeling quite good about ourselves and I'm sure they will be feeling good about themselves at the moment."

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