Craig Gordon left out as Scotland boss Burley names Norway squad
04 August 2009 12:53
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Craig Gordon has been left out of the Scotland squad for next week's crucial World Cup qualifier in Norway.
The Sunderland goalkeeper has struggled to recover from a knee injury after undergoing season-ending surgery at the start of May.
Gordon is a huge loss for manager George Burley, with Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor's Scotland career over following his part in the 'Boozegate' saga.
Gordon's absence leaves Burley with three inexperienced goalkeepers at this level in Neil Alexander, David Marshall and Jamie Langfield.
As expected, the talismanic James McFadden returns to the squad for the first time since November, while there are also recalls for Celtic midfielder Shaun Maloney, Burnley defender Steven Caldwell, Preston full-back Callum Davidson and Rangers striker Steven Naismith.
Celtic midfielder Scott Brown is included, despite only recently returning from injury, but there is no place for veteran Rangers defender David Weir, Cardiff midfielder Gavin Rae or Derby's Gary Teale.
Stephen McManus, James Morrison, Gary Naysmith, Kirk Broadfoot and Chris Iwelumo were all omitted due to injury.
The squad will meet up on Thursday, apart from players from the Coca-Cola Championship, who will link up with the party on Sunday as they will be in action this weekend.
There are ongoing discussions with Manchester United regarding the early release of Darren Fletcher, with Burley keen for him to miss Sunday's Community Shield clash with Chelsea.
In the absence of McManus, Fletcher is likely to be named Scotland's captain in Oslo next Wednesday night.
'Craig is a top international keeper. It's a huge loss,' Burley said.
'We tried to give it as long as possible. I spoke to (Sunderland manager) Steve Bruce and Craig yesterday. Barring a miracle, he's not going to be available.
'Hopefully, in a couple of weeks' time, he should be fit to play.'
With five caps between them, there is no obvious contender among the three keepers to replace Gordon.
Burley said: 'We'll assess it like any other squad. We'll look at it in training. We've got three goalkeepers who are desperate to play.'
The Scotland boss revealed he would also keep a close eye on Brown's fitness before deciding whether to play the midfielder.
Burley said: 'He had an operation in pre-season, got back to fitness again. With Scott, it's one day at a time.
'There's no doubt a fully fit Scott Brown is something Scotland need.'
Scotland squad for World Cup Group Nine match with Norway in Oslo on August 12:
N Alexander (Rangers), Langfield (Aberdeen), Marshall (Cardiff); Barr (Falkirk), Berra (Wolves), G Caldwell (Celtic), S Caldwell (Burnley), Davidson (Preston), Hutton (Tottenham), McAllister (Bristol City), Whittaker (Rangers); Alexander (Burnley), Brown (Celtic), Commons (Derby), D Fletcher (Manchester United), Hartley (Bristol City), Maloney (Celtic), McFadden (Birmingham); Clarkson (Bristol City), S Fletcher (Burnley), McCormack (Cardiff), Miller (Rangers), Naismith (Rangers).