Kris Commons back in Scotland squad as Robert Snodgrass and Jordan Rhodes pull out
THE controversy that has raged in recent days over Kris Commons’ omission from the Scotland squad was quelled yesterday when the in-form Celtic midfielder was called up for the crucial World Cup qualifying fixtures against Wales and Belgium as cover following the withdrawal of Robert Snodgrass and Jordan Rhodes.
• Kris Commons returns to squad as Robert Snodgrass and Jordan Rhodes withdraw
• Scotland play Wales on Friday and Belgium the following Tuesday
Craig Levein’s initial decision to leave out Commons had been questioned, as the player – who last featured for Scotland in a friendly defeat against Brazil at the Emirates Stadium in March 2011 – has been in outstanding form at club level this season.
However, the 29-year-old has been drafted in after Norwich City winger Snodgrass failed to overcome the ankle problem that kept him out of action at the weekend.
Blackburn Rovers striker Rhodes has also withdrawn with an ankle injury, which is another blow for Levein’s attack options after he lost Steven Naismith to a two-match ban imposed by Fifa last Friday for elbowing an opponent in the goalless draw against Serbia last month.
Snodgrass also started that game at Hampden, which kicked off Scotland’s World Cup qualifying campaign, while Rhodes came off the bench against both Serbia and the 1-1 draw against Macedonia.
Commons was last named in a squad for the friendly against Denmark at Hampden on 10 August. But the former Nottingham Forest and Derby player turned up at the team hotel for that match with a protective boot on after suffering a foot injury for Celtic and was eventually ruled out.
He was also forced to withdraw from the previous squad, for the Carling Nations Cup games against Wales and the Republic of Ireland in May 2011. He was sent home by the Scotland medical team with tight hamstrings after reporting to the team hotel.
Commons, who has scored two goals in nine international appearances, struggled with form and fitness for much of last season but has re-established himself as a key player for Celtic in an advanced midfield role this term. Levein previously said there were more than half a dozen players ahead of Commons in his position and that he was “really unlucky” to be left out of his initial squad.
Commons last week admitted his exclusion had left him “baffled” and later told Celtic’s matchday programme that his international career was the last thing on his mind.
Yesterday’s developments mean Levein has 22 players available for the Cardiff City Stadium clash on Friday night and the game in Brussels four days later.
Blackburn defender Grant Hanley pulled out on Monday with a groin strain.
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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