Belfast Telegraph

Injuries open the door to others: Burke

 

Opportunities: Oliver Burke
Opportunities: Oliver Burke

By Andy Newport

Oliver Burke has warned Scotland's no-shows they may find someone has pinched their slot when they finally rejoin Steve Clarke's squad.

The Scots suffered a fresh blow this week as they prepare to bring the curtain down on a disastrous Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with two dead rubbers against Cyprus and Kazakhstan after skipper Andy Robertson, Scott McTominay, Ryan Fraser and Liam Cooper were all ruled out through injury.

The call-offs sparked a fresh round of debate over the level of commitment being shown to the national team, but Alaves forward Burke has no doubt his absent colleagues are genuinely unfit.

However, he warned that there will be plenty of others looking to snatch the positions left vacant.

While Liverpool star Robertson is a certainty to reclaim his slot if he makes himself available for March's Nations League play-offs - which offer a wild card ticket for next summer's finals - Burke will be looking to oust Bournemouth wideman Fraser by impressing during the upcoming double-header.

He said: "It's very disappointing if a player pulls out of a squad when he's not injured and is maybe prioritising his club.

"But I wouldn't see (this week's call-offs) as that. I'd see it as there was games before we come and sometimes you do pick up knocks in your last game which stops you joining up.

"It's unfortunate that players can't make the squad because of injuries but that's part of football. The players here have to come together now, work hard and maybe they can cement their spot - it's not always a good thing if you do have to pull out."

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