McFadden has Vogts' backing

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The Independent Football

Berti Vogts, the Scotland coach, has given striker James McFadden a pep talk to rebuild his damaged confidence ahead of the World Cup qualifiers.

The 21-year-old is Scotland's most exciting attacking talent and an integral part of Vogts' team. But, that is not the case at his club, Everton, with David Moyes having used him for just 45 minutes so far this season.

McFadden's rose to fame with precocious displays for Motherwell but he lacks confidence. Vogts said: "Everton have played three matches and he has played in one of them, so that's normal.

"I watched the match against Manchester United and Everton played with one striker, a tall, target guy. I spoke to James in the morning about his situation and, maybe, he has lost a little confidence. He has to live with his situation. Now he is playing for a big club in Everton. He played in every match for Motherwell but, at Everton, it is different.

"He is one of the most talented players in Scotland and now we have to give him more experience. But David Moyes [said] he was fine with James."

The Scots take on Spain in Valencia tonight in a friendly before the first qualifier, at home to Slovenia next Wednesday.

Last month's Hampden Park match against Hungary - selected for their similarity to Slovenia - was a morale-denting 3-0 loss. But Vogts said the dismal second-half performance was down to a misguided tactical change at half-time and he vowed not to panic again even if Slovenia take the lead. "If we let in an early goal against Slovenia, I won't make changes like I did in the Hungary match," he said. "I opened up my team too early and that was my fault. I am 57 yet, every day, I learn something."

The Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon wins his second cap and Celtic's versatile Jackie McNamara has the midfield holding role. Malky Mackay returns to the heart of the defence following injury but his fellow centre-back, Steven Pressley, is in doubt. The Blackburn Rovers striker Paul Dickov is struggling with injury so Sunderland's Kevin Kyle may play. Another striker, Stevie Crawford, may be rested after a hectic club schedule with Plymouth. Goalkeeper David Marshall could recover from a thigh injury for the Slovenia game.

* The Manchester City defender Ben Thatcher yesterday joined the Wales squad for tomorrow's World Cup qualifying match with Azerbaijan. Thatcher has recovered from a hamstring injury and a stomach virus. Goalkeepers Danny Coyne and Darren Ward, defender Rob Edwards and the winger Simon Davies are all out for the match.