Oliver Burke has been left out of Scotland’s squad to face England in next month’s World Cup qualifier as Gordon Strachan tries to ease the pressure on the RB Leipzig winger.
Much has been expected of Burke after he became Scotland’s most expensive player when he moved from Nottingham Forest to the Bundesliga in August for a reported €12million.
Burke has struggled to hold down a first-team place in Germany but that has not stopped the expectation levels rising every time he turns up for international duty.
As a result Strachan has opted to let the 20-year-old be part of the Under-21 Toulon Tournament to try to give Burke more time on the pitch.
“We feel that Toulon will be better for him to get three games in a short period,” Strachan told a media conference.
“He can breathe and enjoy himself without too much pressure [in Toulon] whereas when he steps out here there is too much pressure.
“Oliver is going to be a top top player, all he needs now is games. It is unfair to expect too much from Oliver when his is not getting a game [for Leipzig].”
Strachan’s squad for the clash at Hampden Park includes six Celtic players after they finished the Scottish Premiership season unbeaten, however there is no place for Callum McGregor.
Brighton and Hove Albion striker Jamie Murphy is recalled after their promotion to the Premier League, while Aberdeen duo Kenny McLean and Mark Reynolds are also back in contention.
Scotland go into the match fourth in Group F on seven points, two behind Slovakia in second place and six adrift of leaders England.
Scotland squad in full:
Goalkeepers: Craig Gordon (Celtic), Jack Hamilton (Hearts), David Marshall (Hull City)
Defenders: Ikechi Anya (Derby County), Christophe Berra (Ipswich Town), Stephen Kingsley (Swansea City), Russell Martin (Norwich City), Charlie Mulgrew (Blackburn Rovers), Mark Reynolds (Aberdeen), Andrew Robertson (Hull City), Kieran Tierney (Celtic)
Midfielders: Stuart Armstrong (Celtic), Barry Bannan (Sheffield Wednesday), Scott Brown (Celtic), Tom Cairney (Fulham), Darren Fletcher (West Brom), James Forrest (Celtic), Ryan Fraser (Bournemouth), James McArthur (Crystal Palace), John McGinn (Hibernian), Kenny McLean (Aberdeen), James Morrison (West Brom), Robert Snodgrass (West Ham)
Forwards: Steven Fletcher (Sheffield Wednesday), Leigh Griffiths (Celtic), Chris Martin (Derby County), Jamie Murphy (Brighton), Steven Naismith (Norwich City)
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