Burley excited by World Cup
George Burley claims the Scotland squad is buzzing ahead of their friendly against Northern Ireland.
By Chris Burton
Last Updated: 29/08/08 12:05pm
George Burley claims the Scotland squad is buzzing ahead of their friendly against Northern Ireland on Wednesday.
The game represents the last chance for both sides to prepare themselves for the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, which are due to get underway next month.
The road to South Africa will be Burley's first campaign in charge of the Scots, and he admits that he is relishing the challenge of leading his country to a major finals.
"I think they're all looking forward to it," he said.
"There's an excitement in the squad because it's only about two weeks after the Northern Ireland game that we start our World Cup campaign, so we're all raring to go."
Burley also revealed that he does not intend to experiment at Hampden Park and will field as many of his first-choice side as possible.
"The nucleus of the team that starts on Wednesday will hopefully be playing against Macedonia (on 6th September)," he said.
"There might be one or two changes, but it's an important game to try and get them to gel.
"You have so few games to prepare for the qualifiers it's important that we get some shape and balance."
James McFadden played a crucial role for Scotland as they came agonisingly close to securing a place at Euro 2008.
He has missed his country's last two fixtures, but Burley is delighted to have the Birmingham playmaker back in the fold ahead of Wednesday's game.
"I think James has shown in the last few seasons, at club level and for his country, that he is a top class player," said the coach.
"The last couple of squads we haven't been able to announce him, but thankfully we have done now.
"He's trained well, he's looking sharp and I'll be pleased to have a look at him in a Scotland shirt.
"James has got so much ability and he is versatile, we can utilise him in various roles.
"His attacking prowess is his strength and he's capable of creating and scoring goals. I'm looking to partner him with Kenny Miller."
Miller has endured a turbulent return to Rangers this summer, but Burley does not expect the striker to have been affected by issues off the field.
"I don't think there's a lack of confidence," he said.
"When you move to a new club it does take time to settle. Going back to Rangers after being at Celtic was never going to be easy, but he is a quality player.
"In the two games I have been in charge he has been absolutely excellent. I have no hesitation putting him in the side."