English League 2

Beattie praise for Naismith

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Mon, 22 Jul 2013 11:35:00

Celtic captain Scott Brown has been recalled to the Scotland squad for next month's international friendly with England.

The 28-year-old endured an injury-hit 2012/13 season, but is now back to full fitness.

Scotland boss Gordon Strachan has also recalled Brown's team-mates Charlie Mulgrew and James Forrest, and Vancouver Whitecaps striker Kenny Miller, the only player based outside the UK.

Brighton and Hove Albion pair Gordon Greer and Liam Bridcutt also return.

Speaking about Brown's inclusion, Strachan said: "Its always good to have him about. He gets better and etter as he gets older.

"He still has that energy but is controlling himself a lot better."

Strachan also praised Miller, saying: "We look forward to having him back because he is a top professional and sets a standard at training that is great for the younger guys."

However, the Scots will be without captain Darren Fletcher, as he continues his recovery from a bowel operation, and Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher, who is contuining his recovery from a serious ankle injury.

"Steven won't be right for [the England game] but when you are talking about

injuries like this, I think it is better to leave it to the clubs to tell you

exactly what is going on," added Strachan.

"I spoke to him about two weeks ago and the situation might have changed.

"It's the same with Darren, I'll leave it to the club to tell you what is going on rather than me.

"But they are top players and top blokes. They will be missed, that is for

sure. The quicker they get back the better."

The squad includes 22 English-based players, including Norwich trio Russell Martin, Steven Whittaker and Robert Snodgrass and goalkeeper Allan McGregor, who recently signed for newly-promoted Hull.

The friendly at Wembley on 14 August comes just under a month before Scotland's 2014 World Cup qualifier at home to Belgium.

While Strachan's side can no longer qualify for the tournament in Brazil, they have ensured that they will be in pot four for the Euro 2016 draw, courtesy of their 1-0 win over Croatia in June.

Scotland squad:

Goalkeepers: Matt Gilks (Blackpool), David Marshall (Cardiff), Allan McGregor (Hull)

Defenders: Gordon Greer (Brighton), Steven Hammell (Motherwell), Grant Hanley (Blackburn), Alan Hutton (Aston Villa), Russell Martin (Norwich), Charlie Mulgrew (Celtic), Andy Webster (Unattached), Steven Whittaker (Norwich)

Midfielders: Charlie Adam (Stoke), Barry Bannan (Aston Villa), George Boyd (Hull), Liam Bridcutt (Brighton), Chris Burke (Birmingham), Scott Brown (Celtic), Craig Conway (Cardiff), Graham Dorrans (West Brom), James Forrest (Celtic), Gary Mackay-Steven (Dundee United), James McArthur (Wigan), James Morrison (West Brom), Steven Naismith (Everton), Robert Snodgrass (Norwich)

Forwards: Leigh Griffiths (Wolves), Shaun Maloney (Wigan), Kenny Miller (Vancouver Whitecaps), Jordan Rhodes (Blackburn)

It emerged on Sunday that the 54-year-old former striker was in discussions with the club he briefly represented as a player over a role working alongside his former Wimbledon manager.

But the 54-year-old last month joined the coaching staff at Millwall, and he told Sky Sports News: "After meeting with Mike Ashley and Joe Kinnear, I made the hard decision that it is not the right time for me to take up this role.

"It was an honour to be asked to work at a fantastic club and I have the utmost respect for the Newcastle United and its fans.

"I am currently enjoying a role helping out at Millwall, but would like to thank Mike Ashley and Joe Kinnear for the opportunity."

It had been suggested that Harford would concentrate on the domestic market, helping Kinnear to identify potential targets from the lower leagues and monitoring those players sent out on loan by manager Alan Pardew.

However, news of the talks sparked further claims that Pardew was being undermined amid accusations that owner Mike Ashley was installing a shadow management team above him.

The manager and his players are currently in Portugal, where they are continuing their preparations for the new season following a 3-1 friendly defeat by Rio Ave on Saturday evening.

Kinnear, who was put in charge of all football-related matters when he was controversially appointed to his new post by Ashley, is currently attempting to implement the transfer plan put in place after discussions with Pardew and chief scout Graham Carr, although the Magpies remain the only Premier League club yet to sign a senior player this summer.

But that could change in the near future with the club understood to have formalised their interest in Lyon's France international striker Bafetimibi Gomis, while Aston Villa's Darren Bent remains firmly in their sights despite reported interest from Fulham.

Naismith, along with former Manchester United striker Danny Webber, ex-Stanley loanee Piero Mingoia, and midfielder Josh Windass are all looking to earn contracts at the Store First Stadium.

But the Scotland youth international, 21, was singled out for special praise from Beattie following Saturday's 1-1 draw against Tranmere.

"I think there's a very talented footballer in Kal," he told the Lancashire Telegraph. "His confidence needs boosting and I think he thrives on responsibility.

"I said to him before I want to see you go out there and enjoy playing football because you're a good player, I want to see you smiling and as you've seen he is a totally different player, he's a special player."

Beattie added: "The application of the players I don't think will ever be in question, we're just getting them to express themselves. They are growing in confidence as a group and I'm very pleased."

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