Robert Snodgrass has stressed that he has never made himself unavailable for Scotland and claims he was lied to by the previous regime.
The midfielder’s international career, spanning eight years and 26 caps, has rarely been smooth but it seemed to be over when he was overlooked for several squads in Alex McLeish’s second spell as manager amid suggestions this was the player’s own preference.
It was just a year ago that Snodgrass explained that his mother’s stroke had made it difficult for him to commit to Scotland but that he’d happily answered the call after an injury to Matt Phillips saw McLeish turn to him for the games against Belgium and Albania. He came on as sub in the former – his last appearance for Scotland.
Problems seemed to arise when he was not even stripped for the game against Israel the following month. Two recent deaths in his family meant he had swithered over making himself available. He did so but was left in the stand in Haifa.
Snodgrass has been recalled by Steve Clarke, McLeish’s successor, for the Euro 2020 doubleheader against Russia and Belgium which kicks off against the former at Hampden tomorrow night.
“When you have played so many games for Scotland, it was just: ‘be honest to me’,” he said. “In the last campaign, I won’t go into it, but it wasn’t honest. I am not 16 anymore. I am nearly 32. I am coming to the back end of my career and I just want people to be honest with me.
“I have always come and backed the lads, every opportunity I get, playing or not playing. But don’t tell lies to me. I am not a kid.
“I have played over 500 games so just be straight with me. He (Clarke) has been straight with me. I won’t tell you the conversation but he has been straight with me. And when people are straight with you in any job, in any walk of life, then you can appreciate that and have respect for that.”
Snodgrass stressed he got on well with McLeish and his coaching team – assistants Peter Grant and James McFadden – on a personal level. But there were certain decisions which were hard for him to comprehend.
“I got on really well with him – I liked him and there’s nothing against him or his staff,” he said. “It’s just certain things that were done that baffled me.”
Snodgrass emphasised that he will have no problem if he is not selected for the next two games. He only wants to be treated with respect at this stage of his career.
Snodgrass is currently having to perform the role of squad player at West Ham, coming on as substitute in their last league game against Norwich City.
“Listen, make this clear: it’s not about me not playing,” he said “There were loads of games I didn’t get picked for and I’d still be there for the next one, backing the boys. It’s not a case that I’m only here if I’m playing.
“I never played under Strachan and I came back. My Scotland career hasn’t been plain sailing. I didn’t play under Levein to start off with but I’m there, I’m there, I’m there, I’m there. Nobody can ever question my commitment to play for Scotland.
“Listen, if they do then that’s fine,” he added. “But what I’m saying is that I just want honesty because it’s small things like that that matter to me.
“If I’m coming up here bumping my gums and being honest to get things better then you want a bit of honesty back.
“Even if you’re not playing me, just be honest with me. I’m fine with that. I’m going through that state at West Ham just now. When that happens you need to be a good team-mate. I speak about that loads. Because, if you have a team full of boys like that, you’ll go further.”