(Reuters) - Scotland midfielder Robert Snodgrass has backed manager Gordon Strachan’s decision to shake up the squad ahead of their 2018 World Cup qualifier against Slovenia on March 26.
Strachan has called up Bournemouth’s Ryan Fraser, Fulham’s Tom Cairney and Celtic’s Stuart Armstrong for the first time, as well as recalling West Brom’s Matt Phillips.
Snodgrass said Strachan was bringing in players who are in good form for their clubs.
“The players that he’s brought into the squad, lads are playing at a good level, lads are scoring goals in the Premier League, lads are scoring goals in the Championship, the (Scottish Premiership),” Snodgrass told British media.
Scotland, who are fifth of six teams in European qualifying Group F, play Canada in a friendly on March 22 before hosting second-placed Slovenia four days later.
“It’s good to get a game before to see what lads need some minutes then the manager will pick the right team to go on the Sunday,” Snodgrass added.
Scotland have lost their last two qualifiers to group leaders England and third-placed Slovakia and have just four points from four matches so far.
“When you lose games against Slovakia and England, you’re going to get the criticism that goes with it. The lads know that. We know we need to get back to winning ways,” Snodgrass said.
The winners of the nine European qualifying groups automatically qualify for the World Cup in Russia, while the eight best runners-up progress to a playoff round to compete for the remaining four spots.
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford