Gordon Strachan offers young Scottish talent chance to shine

By Chris McLaughlinBBC Sport
Gordon Strachan
Gordon Strachan may be introducing a lot of uncapped players for the friendlies but still wants the team to win both matches

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan says the young players must prove themselves or he will go with more experienced players for the World Cup qualifiers.

Nine uncapped players have been chosen for this month's friendly double-header against the Czech Republic and Denmark.

"These guys have done a fantastic job for us," he said of those who have served him in recent campaigns.

"If the younger guys don't come up to standard I don't have a problem going with the same guys again."

Strachan aims for fairness with players

Strachan, speaking at Hampden, insists results in Prague on 24 March and in Glasgow five days later matter greatly but admits he wants to test some new faces in international matches.

To that end, he has named two separate squads with Jamie Murphy, John McGinn, Kieran Tierney, Liam Cooper, Kenny McLean, Oliver Burke, Scott Bain, Kevin McDonald and Tony Watt in line to earn their first caps.

Gordon Greer, Charlie Mulgrew, Steven Whittaker, Ikechi Anya and Steven Fletcher feature in both squads.

Asked if fans should be excited at the emerging talent, the manager replied: "Only time will tell. They are being given the opportunity. If they excite the clubs, then they'll excite us.

"There are different levels of progression; some are late developers.

"Are there superstars in there? I don't know. I don't think so."

Leeds United defender Liam Cooper
Leeds United defender Liam Cooper will hope to impress the national team manager ahead of the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign

Strachan says he has been impressed by Hibs midfielder McGinn, referring to "his drive, his strength, his ability, his humility, his team-work".

And he is looking to make use of Blackburn Rovers' Watt's attacking runs.

"Tony is physically strong and he can make goals," he continued.

"If you look at Scotland, we score goals after eight or nine passes - that's hard work.

"You can throw a ball up to Tony and, at his best, he can beat two people and stick it in the back of the net."

Those players who caught the manager's eye have evidently satisfied his basic criteria for making the squad.

"You have to be able to pass the ball and control it," he asserted.

"Good players make that look simple. Anybody can put in a good shift.

"Can they work in a system? Can they work with other players? Can they give themselves up for the team?

"Can we have players who can beat people?"

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