Writer: Eamonn Moore
Date:Saturday October 9 2010
Craig Levein's ears will be ringing this morning after his bizarre 4-6-0 formation backfired last night with Scotland losing 1-0 to the Czech Republic.
What was even more bizarre however was the total absence of 'Pool's Charlie Adam from either the starting XI or indeed the substitute's bench less than a week after the Scot won universal claim for his role in Blackpool's famous win over Liverpool.
With Scotland struggling to break down even the worst defences in European Championship Qualifying so far, you'd have thought that Adam's eye for a pass and ability to shoot would have seen him at least make the bench.
Then again, he plays for Blackpool. I bet my bottom dollar that if he played for a more 'fashionable' club that Adam would be one of the first names on the teamsheet.
Gone are the days when it was the norm for the Seasiders to have a raft of international players in their ranks; since the days of Jimmy Armfield and Alan Ball the club's international players have been few and far between.
In one sense that's largely understandable given the club's spell in the lower divisions, but now we're back in the Premier League it still appears that our 'unfashionable' tag is harming the international careers of our players.
Yes, David Vaughan is a regular for Wales and Richard Kingson, Dekel Keinan and David Carney are all regulars at international level also, but with all due respect, Vaughany doesn't have much competition to slot into the Welsh midfield, whilst the likes of Ghana, Israel and Australia are hardly international football superpowers.
Then again, neither are Scotland and Levein would seemingly rather play Caldwell - a defender - in midfield than give Adam the platform to perform he deserves.
Craig Cathcart missed Northern Ireland's draw with Italy last night through injury, but it is generally accepted that despite a superb international debut last time out and a promising start to the season with the Seasiders, that even if he had been fit he'd have been dropped for Manchester United's Jonny Evans - a player who's hardly pulled up any trees this season.
I'll leave you with this; despite appearing just three times in the league for Manchester City this season, Shaun Wright-Phillips finds himself in the England squad yet again.
Compare and contrast that with the impact that Luke Varney has made in the Premier League with the Seasiders, and surely the on loan attacker would be a better selection than SWP?
We might be 'unfashionable' to some, but as our win over Liverpool showed yet again, we're a good team with good players who play good football. International managers need to look past who people play for and start looking at how good players actually are.
It shouldn't matter whether you play for Manchester City or Blackpool; if you're a good player who's performing well, you deserve a chance on the international stage.
Date:Saturday October 9 2010
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