McCormack relishes tough Scotland tests
Striker braced for ‘intense’ friendlies
ROSS McCormack believes the double header against Euro 2016 finalists Italy and France will boost Scotland’s hopes of making a winning start to their Russia 2018 qualifying campaign next season.
The Fulham striker is hoping to get the nod from Gordon Strachan to play in the friendly international against Italy at the Ta’ Qali Stadium in Malta tomorrow evening.
The 29-year-old reckons the meeting with the Azzurri and then France in Metz a week today will be the perfect preparation for their bid to reach the next World Cup in two years.
The national team, who have been drawn in Group F alongside England, Slovakia, Slovenia, Lithuania and Malta, play their opening Russia 2018 qualifier away to Malta in September.
McCormack, who set up Ikechi Anya for a goal in a 1-0 win over the Czech Republic in Prague in March after being recalled from the international wilderness, is hopeful he can force his way into contention.
“There’s not many better games out there,” he said. “It will be good for the squad of players that we have to go and see where they’re at.
“I know they are friendlies, but the intensity will be there because we’ll treat it properly and those two teams are preparing for the Euros, so they will be very, very tough games. The World Cup qualifiers aren’t really in my mind just now. I’ve got these two games then I’ll go away and get married in the summer. Then I’ll recharge the batteries and we’ll go again at the start of the season.
“When the squad’s about to be announced, that’s when you’ll start thinking about it. I don’t think in this game you can think too far ahead.
“It’s just getting through these two games, hopefully get a couple of good results, a couple of good performances and enjoy our summer.
“It’s all about the games that are in front of you. Get through them with good performances and a couple of good results, enjoy your summer then get going again pre-season.”
Meanwhile, McCormack, the Fulham striker who has been linked with £12million moves to Aston Villa, Newcastle United and Norwich City, has admitted he would like to fulfil his ambition to play in the Barclays Premier League before the end of his career.
“There is no jealousy there on my part,” he said. “I am happy for the guys who play in the Premier League, but I am a little bit gutted I never had a chance and I am coming up for30 now.
“I probably only have five, six or seven years left. Hopefully something comes up, be it going up with Fulham or whatever that gives me that chance.
“I think my game would be suited to it. I always try to see things early. I try to be quite technical so it might suit it.”