Oli McBurnie has insisted he was “ready and willing” to play for Scotland before being withdrawn from the squad and appearing in a Sheffield United friendly.
McBurnie’s presence for 45 minutes of the Blades’ 2-0 pre-season win over Derby on Tuesday, two days after pulling out of the Scotland squad for the Nations League double-header against Israel and the Czech Republic, raised eyebrows north of the border.
Scotland manager Steve Clarke and Blades boss Chris Wilder have both said they were in agreement over McBurnie’s withdrawal – and now the 24-year-old striker has spoken out about his absence from international duty.
“Nobody is more frustrated than me at having to withdraw from the Scotland squad for this double-header,” McBurnie posted on Twitter.
“I know both my club and international managers have explained the situation but I feel it’s important that I do, too.
“The reality is I haven’t been able to train at all for the last two weeks due to a cut in my foot that became infected.
“Given that pre-season coincides with the Nations League matches as a result of the Covid-19 impact on football, the last thing I wanted to do was let myself or my country down.
“I was ready and willing to give it my best but both managers – probably rightly – took the decision out of my hands. Playing a bit longer that I expected in a friendly is a different world to an international double-header but I get how some people perceive it.
“I will be supporting my team-mates from home and putting in the work to get fit for October. Stay safe and see you soon.”
Clarke released a statement on Tuesday saying that Wilder had informed him McBurnie would not be fit enough to play at international level and that it “made sense for everyone for Oli to stay at Sheffield and work on his fitness”.
Wilder said that the decision had made “perfect sense”.