Stoke City’s Scottish midfielder Charlie Adam has unleashed a scathing attack on national team boss Gordon Strachan ahead of Friday’s World Cup qualifier at Wembley.
In an epic rant on talkSPORT radio, Adam accused Strachan of not fielding his best side, expressed his shock at not being selected and blasted the decision to include Celtic midfielder Scott Brown.
“For me, Gordon is the best manager to be there…because there is no other candidate,” said Adam.
“But we’re not blessed with a great number of talented players, we’re a small nation, and we have to have to best players available for every squad. We have to have the best squad picked.”
Adam revealed his manager at club level expected him to make the squad despite having no goals or assists in five league appearances this season and only completing 90 minutes twice.
“Mark Hughes has said to me that’s he’s surprised I’m not involved in some way. He’s asked me what I think, and said I’ll just try to keep playing as well as I can for Stoke and hopefully an opportunity arises again.”
Adam saved particular ire for Celtic skipper Scott Brown, who reversed his retirement decision in time to face the Auld Enemy on Friday.
“If I was in the position where I’d traveled to Malta and Slovakia and he just came straight back in to play against England, I’m going to be thinking: ‘What’s going on, why am I not getting an opportunity?'”. said Adam.
Undoubtedly there is an element of Old Firm antipathy in the Adam’s criticisms given he was a popular Rangers player around the time Strachan managed Celtic, and there is no love lost in his dealings with Brown.
Bitterness aside though, is there any substance to Adam’s rant?
No one is under any illusions about this being a vintage Scotland side. That said in the likes of Robert Snodgrass, Darren Fletcher and James Morrison the Scots have a decent number of midfielders plying their trade at a respectable level in the Premier League albeit at smaller clubs like Hull City, West Brom, and Stoke in Adam’s case.
Scotland seem to have a genuine dearth of talent in defence. Of the current squad, only Swansea’s Stephen Kingsley plays in the Premier League.
“Obviously my face doesn’t fit at the moment.” – Charlie Adam
Strachan has been accused by the Tartan Army of putting too much faith in the old guard at the expense of emerging talent.
Case in point, 30-year-old Charlie Mulgrew has been called in from Championship side Blackburn Rovers to replace 35-year-old teammate Gordon Greer. Meanwhile 22-year-old Andrew Robertson, currently playing in the top flight with Hull, doesn’t make the squad.
It is at forward where perhaps the best defense for Adam’s argument can be made. Strachan has shown a preference for physical, robust target men like Sheffield Wednesday’s Steven Fletcher and Fulham’s Chris Martin.
Scotland has only scored more than once in their last seven internationals, the 5-1 qualifying win against Malta. Of Fletcher’s nine international goals, six have come against Gibraltar.
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Strachan heaped praise on Martin after the 1-1 draw with Lithuania – then promptly dumped him from the team for the 3-0 debacle in Slovakia.
Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths, with over 40 goals last season, and four goals in Champions League qualifiers this campaign, has struggled to break the eleven at national level despite a groundswell of fan support.
Strachan’s side certainly cannot lose on Friday night and, if the Scotland boss doesn’t get his team selection spot-on, then Adam’s assessment will be vindicated.
What do you think? Listen to Adam’s thoughts then tell us in the comments if you agree.