Strachan: This is why surprise midfielder won Scotland call-up

Gordon Strachan has explained his reasoning behind a call-up for Bournemouth's Matt Ritchie.

Strachan has told the Daily Record why he called Matt Ritchie into the Scotland squad, with the midfielder a surprise inclusion in the coach’s selection.

Ritchie currently plays for Bournemouth, and has excelled in the Championship this season as the Cherries sit atop the league table.

The left-footed right-winger has scored 11 goals and created 12 more for the South Coast club and, at the age of 25, one would expect him to get a move to the Premier League in the summer, even if it is not with Bournemouth.

Having been born in Gosport, Ritchie qualifies for the Tartan Army due to his father, and he took the option of representing the nation as a guarantee for international football. It is no less than the midfielder deserves after his great season and he will bring a technical brilliance to the Scotland team that is sometimes lacking, as well as an added wing-threat - with Ikechi Anya already playing on the left.

Some nations are criticised for selecting players not born in the country that they will represent, but in the case of a talented player, it will likely be overlooked. Strachan made the choice to include Ritchie and, after confirming he wanted to play for Scotland, the coach has revealed the reason why he selected the highly-rated Cherries star.

Speaking to the Daily Record, Strachan said: “I’ve watched Matt for three or four months. Bournemouth are an excellent side, well coached, well drilled, fit. They are a good passing team. They are progressive and all their passes are tidy. Matt is a big part of that.

“He’s left-footed so he comes in off the line and plays. So he is a threat. He beats people by playing the ball and moving. Plus he has a good delivery. He has 11 goals this season so that is good going for someone out wide.”

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