Gordon Strachan has risked a confrontation with Paul Lambert for questioning why Alan Hutton has been ostracised by the Aston Villa manager.
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Hutton has played four games this season, all for Scotland, and will be on duty again this evening against the U.S. at Hampden Park -- but has not played a club game since appearing on loan for Spanish side Real Mallorca against Valladolid on June 1.
The 28-year-old was hoping a permanent move to Spain would materialise last summer, or even another loan move, but is thought Villa's demands to cover a large percentage of Hutton's estimated 50,000 pound-a-week deal, left the former Spurs defender stuck at Villa Park.
Villa manager Lambert has made it clear Hutton has no future at the club, but Strachan, who has included the full-back in games against Croatia, Belgium, Macedonia and England, is amazed at how the player has been left in the cold, or has not been signed by another club.
"He has been brilliant for us. It’s a mystery of football how he is not getting a game somewhere," Strachan said.
"I look at other games in the Premier League, look at right-backs and go, 'He’s better than them.' It’s very strange he’s not playing Premier League football because the games he’s played for us have been outstanding.
"And he’s not playing against teams away down at 100th in the world rankings. He’s doing it against the teams at the top of the world game.
"Sometimes people say players are great at international level but they’re playing against teams at 90th or 100th in the world, but Alan is playing against top, top players."
Strachan will continue to pick the former Rangers man and Hutton is hoping that there will be a change in policy at Villa when the January transfer window opens and he will be allowed to move on.
Strachan has rubbished any suggestions that the player’s attitude might be putting off any other club from taking him on loan and insists Hutton is a model professional.
"When he gets here he works hard. Off the pitch he’s smashing too. He’s polite with good conversation. Alan is great and I just find his situation very, very strange," he said.
"It must be hard for him to look over at the first-team training. I’m sure Paul Lambert is not doing that deliberately, by the way. If he keeps playing like he has done for us I see no reason for him to find a club!"