Does the benefit outweigh the risk?
International games can be viewed can be viewed as a mixed blessing for football clubs. They interrupt the day to day routine and offer an injury risk to players, yet they can provide valuable experience and enhance the value of a club's stock.
The current break sees Neilsen on duty with the Faroe Islands and Anier engaged with Estonia. We wish them well and hope that Motherwell can benefit from the learning that both players gain from national representation. We balance the risk of injury against the advantage that should flow from their involvement.Local boy makes good
We remember the cost (both to player and club) that followed Steven Saunders' departure from the Scotland U21 game against Norway in Paisley in 2011. Our promising youngster had already won a full cap (against The Faroe Islands) but the Achillies injury saw him carried from the pitch and straight to hospital. His career was put on hold for a few years and we lost the expected benefit.
On the other hand the value of David Clarkson was undoubtedly enhanced by his 11 caps for the U21 team and, in the year before his transfer to Bristol City, by his two appearances for the senior national team. Reports suggested that we took an £800,000 fee for his move.
Gordon Strachan appointed Stuart McCall to his backroom staff at the start of 2014 and our man has worked with the national manager and his assistant Mark McGhee throughout. Tuesday's game in Norway will be the tenth under their control and few would disagree with Leeann Dempster's thoughts in January, "We are sure his experiences of international football will complement his excellent contribution to Motherwell's ongoing ambitions".
It is inevitable that some aspects of the planning, preparation, training and tactics employed at the Scotland setup will influence McCall in his day job. Strachan has impressed many with the improved performance of the national team and if any of his thinking can indirectly influence what we see at Fir Park it has to be welcomed.
McCall will have to turn his attention from Norway to Kilmarnock this week. Let's hope for some of Strachan's magic to filter through to the boys in claret and amber.
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