Robert Snodgrass has disclosed the reason for his recent absence from Scotland squads while underlining his commitment to Alex McLeish’s side.
The Scotland manager suggested last week that Snodgrass and James McArthur might struggle to return to his plans after they apparently requested to be excused from consideration.
But an injury to Matt Phillips saw Snodgrass added to the party for the upcoming games against Belgium and Albania. The West Ham United player stressed yesterday he had always wanted to be involved but had found it hard to juggle all his commitments after his mother, Irene, suffered a stroke last year.
“I hadn’t chucked it,” stressed Snodgrass. “The best way to clear it up is by telling you the truth. The last time I was in the squad my mum was in the hospital, and I was in and out of the squad to visit her.
“I always said to [previous manager Gordon] Strachan that I’d be there, but I never really played any of the games [even though] I scored the last goal.” Snodgrass struck the equaliser in a World Cup qualifier in Slovenia in the final match of Strachan’s reign last year.
“It was a difficult one, but I spoke to Alex and he told me he wanted me to be part of it, but there were some lads that he was giving a chance to,” the player said.
Snodgrass in turn explained he would prefer to miss out this time due to his mother’s health.
McLeish struggled to explain Snodgrass’ omission from the original squad for the Belgium and Albania fixtures due to his concern about breaking confidences. Snodgrass is worried the manager’s explanation that he didn’t currently “have the right mentality” for international football has been interpreted the wrong way. He is adamant he would never turn his back on Scotland.
“I understand that, and some things you can keep in-house, but when the manager speaks about mentality then I think you have to explain it,” he said.
“He didn’t want to say about my family situation, his thinking was that it’s up to me to say that, so he’s trying to protect all parties. He’s got a duty of care as a manager to his players and I appreciate that. But, I want to clear it up now. He was brilliant with me and always wanted me in the squad.
“It was always a case of working with him and seeing what the best solution was between my mum and my family going forward. I had long discussions with my mum and dad and they said ‘listen, you want to play for Scotland and that’s the most important thing’.”
“I told them I would cross that bridge when I came to it. When I did cross that bridge when the manager named his team I wanted to be part of it. It’s quite hard when they ask how I’m not in the squad, and then the manager came out and spoke about mentality. But it wasn’t about mentality. It was the timing more than anything.”
Snodgrass, who has won 25 caps since making his debut against Northern Ireland seven years ago, confirmed his mother is now on the road to recovery.