Strachan takes friendlies seriously

05 November 2013 11:17

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan has a simple aim for the upcoming friendlies against the United States and Norway: to win.

But he believes only his players can determine how seriously they take the two fixtures.

Scotland ended their World Cup qualifying campaign with victories over Macedonia and Croatia and are looking to continue the momentum in the Hampden clash against Jurgen Klinsmann's team a week on Friday.

And Strachan will give his players the platform to look ahead to their next qualifying campaign almost 10 months before it is due to begin.

Strachan said: "It's not so much me, it's how important the players take them, what they think about friendlies.

"Is it a friendly for them where they just come along or is it a chance for them to show they want to be in the squad for when we start the European Championship campaign? It depends how seriously they want to take it."

Strachan named a familiar squad, although Partick Thistle goalkeeper Scott Fox has been called up for the first time in the absence of injured first-choice stopper Allan McGregor.

Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher was recalled after ankle and shoulder injuries and QPR winger Matt Phillips has been handed a chance following a broken arm.

When asked about his goals for the games, Strachan said: "To win. That's what we always set out to do. A performance as well would be great.

"There are some faces that are in who have not been in for a while.

"It will be nice to get them back and get them up to speed on what we have been doing over the last five or six games, to get them in our mindset, the way we work, the hours we work, and the systems we want to implement.

"If they can add to what we have already done, that will be fantastic."

However, the likes of uncapped Brighton defender Gordon Greer and Derby midfielder Craig Bryson, who has one cap, could feature.

"I think it's fair that you reward players like that," Strachan said. "They have deserved to be in the squad but they have not played as many minutes as they would have liked.

"But their work in training to help the guys who played was phenomenal. And that's what makes a squad.

"Sometimes you might question that this player is not here and that player is not here, but it might be the fact that the players that I have are the best for the squad overall."

Source: PA

World Cup Group G

Pos Team Pld Pts
- Belgium 0 0
- Panama 0 0
- Tunisia 0 0
- England 0 0