Don't lose faith in Ferguson: Burley backing for under-fire skipper

19 March 2009 12:49
George Burley last night backed Barry Ferguson to recover from his Hampden heartache by playing a key role in maintaining Scotland's World Cup dream.

The Rangers

skipper has been roundly criticised for a mediocre display in last Sunday's Co-operative Insurance Cup Final defeat to Celtic


The 31-year-old's most notable contribution to the match was a late touchline bust-up with former Old Firm midfield nemesis Neil Lennon.

A man for the big occasion: Ferguson has received the full support of boss Burley

But Scotland boss Burley insists he has no concerns about his captain ahead of the trip to Holland and vowed that Ferguson will do his nation proud in the Amsterdam Arena on March 28.

'I have no fears about Barry,' Burley said. 'He is a tremendous captain. He plays with passion, is fully fit and he certainly won't let his country down.

'On Sunday, he ran his heart out against Celtic. He was desperately disappointed afterwards. It was a game which was very competitive.'

Burley is looking forward to fielding Ferguson alongside Darren Fletcher and Scott Brown for the first time since taking over as manager.

He believes that trio will be vital for the trip to face the runaway Group Nine leaders, whose celebrated midfield includes players of the calibre of Wesley Sneijder and Mark van Bommel.

Burley also hinted that he will deploy a 4-5-1 formation before reverting to a more attacking set-up for the home match against Iceland on April 1.

'Ferguson, Brown and Fletcher are a strong midfield three, so it's vital we don't lose any of those players to call-offs,' he said. 'Holland are a very strong side, especially in midfield, so we will have to compete against that.

'There are permutations you can use for each game. I will probably utilise it differently for Holland than I would for Iceland.'

Goalkeeper Craig Gordon, meanwhile, has told Burley he is ready to face the Dutch, despite his lack of first-team action.

The 35-times-capped keeper has been unable to reclaim his place in the Sunderland

side following his return from an ankle injury. He has played just one senior game since November.

Burley refused to be drawn on whether Gordon remains his first choice as he named his squad for the forthcoming double-header. Despite his spell on the bench, 26-year-old Gordon still has confidence in his own ability.

He said: 'I have enough experience under my belt. I'm fully fit and I'm ready to go if called upon.

'I would like to play a Premier League game before I join up with Scotland. But if that doesn't happen, then I'm still ready.'

Ready: Gordon says he is capable of facing the Dutch

As Sportsmail revealed on Tuesday, Burley named Alan Hutton in his squad after four months out with a foot injury.

Hutton makes his Spurs

comeback in a reserve match at West Brom

next Monday and could get the green light for his country if he comes through it unscathed.

Aberdeen striker Lee Miller has not recovered from a hamstring injury, while Celtic midfielder Barry Robson has a groin strain.

Despite leaving both out, Burley said: 'I spoke to Barry last night and he hasn't ruled himself out totally. We will keep an eye on his progress. He hasn't played since his operation but, like Lee, we haven't totally ruled him out.'

The sole surprise in Burley's 26-man squad is a recall for Derby winger Gary Teale after a year-long international absence. 

 Gamble could be two risky: Burley calls Hutton and Gordon for World Cup double-header

Villa boss O'Neill in line for a Celtic reunion should Hoops secure title

Spurs star Hutton named in Scotland squad to face Holland and Iceland


Source: Daily_Mail

World Cup Group G

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