George Burley, the Scotland manager, has backed Andrew Driver's decision to put his international future on hold and concentrate on his Hearts performances. The England Under-21 international announced that he would make a final decision on his allegiance in "a few weeks" after he recovers his form.
Burley yesterday tried to take the pressure off Driver, who became eligible for Scotland last month under the new home nations rule that allows players to represent an adopted country if they spent five years there at school. He was keen to move the spotlight away from the Oldham-born winger, who made his England Under-21 debut in the summer, as he announced his squad for the friendly against Wales on 14 November.
"At the moment he just wants to get on with his football and concentrate on playing for Hearts," Burley said. "I think that's a wise decision. There is no doubt at some point we'll have a chat with Andy. But I think the most important thing is let Andrew get on with his football. We know his ability, so that's something we will keep an eye on."
Burley was pressed on whether Driver, who moved to North Berwick 10 years ago, would have to make the first move. "The important thing is he wants to play for the country and the important thing is he's 100 per cent," he said. "Of course, you have got to apply to Fifa to change the nationality because he chose England. But I think the most important thing now is to get his head down, work on his game."
Burley named few surprises in the 23-man squad for the game at the Cardiff City Stadium. Driver's team-mate Lee Wallace retains his place following his impressive debut in the 2-0 defeat by Japan last month, with the Watford midfielder Don Cowie and West Bromwich winger Graham Dorrans also given the chance to add to their first caps.
Burley has also been boosted by the return to fitness of Ross McCormack, James McFadden, Barry Robson, Steven Caldwell and Kenny Miller. Celtic left-back Danny Fox is included again after injury denied him a debut in Japan, while Kevin Thomson, Alan Hutton and Steven Naismith keep their places despite also missing the trip through injury. Kevin Kyle has been included after being forced to pull out of the last two squads but there is no room for Charlie Adam, Ross Wallace, Stephen Hughes, Lee Miller and Craig Conway, who all played in Yokohama.Reuse content