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Lambert: Bannan must maintain form

Barry Bannan's recall to the Scotland squad has been underpinned by encouraging words closer to home from his manager at Aston Villa, Paul Lambert.

The midfielder, once described by Craig Levein as a future star of Scottish football, has been summoned in emergency for the World Cup qualifiers against Wales and Serbia because of a hamstring injury suffered by West Bromwich Albion's James Morrison.

And Bannan, 23, who was instrumental in Aston Villa's potentially crucial victory over Queens Park Rangers at the weekend, has been reassured at the same time by his club boss Lambert that his development at Premier League level is on track.

"This is Barry's first real sustainable season of being in the first team for long periods, then being taken out. And being in and out," said Lambert. "Sometimes you need to do that young players to take them out and give them a break - then put them back in and get the impetus from that.

"I think that spell with Ashley Westwood in there, against the Manchester Uniteds and Liverpools, saw the two of them hit a really high peak of performance. Then the two had a little dip, we took them out.

"Barry came in against Reading again and he was very good. He needs to sustain it because every time there will be competition for places. As long as nobody is in a comfort zone and as long as there is competition, people will always try to hit their high performance."

Airdrie-born Bannan, who was booked after keeping his place against Rangers, is hoping to win his 12th senior international cap over the next week. He has the reputation of being hot-tempered but Lambert insists he has his own way of dealing with any tantrums.

"I don't listen to him," he added. "I lock my door! No-one is happy when they are left out, that will never change.

"You need everyone pulling the same way. They're all as important as each other. I had a chat with Barry and he's responded in a really good way - no problem."


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