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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Oct 13, 2008

Burley slams Boyd over boycott

Scotland manager George Burley has reacted to Kris Boyd's decision to quit international football by insisting he only wants players who are fully committed to the cause.

Boyd left a message on Burley's telephone on Saturday night informing him he no longer wished to be considered for selection during the manager's tenure.

He made the decision after spending the entire World Cup qualifier against Norway on the bench.

The 25-year-old feels he has not been given a fair chance, having played just 28 minutes of six games since the appointment of the former Ipswich, Hearts and Southampton boss in January.

But Burley hit back at Hampden today, insisting Boyd should have put his personal grievances to one side for the sake of his country, asking him: "How much do you care?''

"For me, it's important that players show commitment and passion to play for their country,'' said Burley. "There are areas where you may be upset but it's your country. At club sides you might move on but this is your country you're talking about.

"As far as I'm concerned, I only want people who are totally committed to their country. It's not about George Burley, it's not about Kris Boyd - it's about Scotland. That's the only thing that really matters.

"I've never had a cross word with Kris. They come in, they stay in five-star hotels, and in this day and age they have massive wages. How much do you care? You don't need to like everybody. This is your country.

"The only way Kris Boyd is going to get in the team is playing regularly, showing what he can do, coming to the squad and being lively and bright and looking better than the other strikers.

"That's the way you get in the team. You've got to show that passion and if you don't want to show it and you make that decision and you want to step out, fine.

"We have big games coming up. People might think we are out of it but we're not, we are in second position at the moment.

"But what we need are people willing to fight for the cause, go to war for the country, roll your sleeves up and go for it.''

Burley stood by his decision to deploy inexperienced duo Steven Fletcher and Chris Iwelumo - with one cap between them and both making their competitive debuts - as second-half substitutes against Norway, leaving Boyd on the bench as Scotland desperately chased a win.

He also pointed out that the Rangers striker is also used sparingly at club level by Walter Smith, a scenario he believes illustrates his point about Boyd still having to prove himself despite an impressive scoring record for both club and country.

"Kris is at Glasgow Rangers and Walter Smith, for me, is one of the best managers in Britain,'' said Burley. "In the last year, he hasn't been a regular. That tells you there is maybe something that's not right.

"I'm sure Kris now wants to concentrate on club football, he wants to get a regular place at Rangers, and that's the way he will show everybody what he can do.

"Every player has got their strengths and weaknesses but, as a manager, you have to choose what is right for you.

"There are elements of his game he has to improve on, he knows that. Otherwise he would be playing every week but there is competition there and you need to be on top of your game.

"I made the decision, which I still feel was right.''

Burley indicated the door was not necessarily closed on Boyd making a dramatic return - but only with the right attitude.

"He has made the decision, I've not made the decision,'' he said. "If he is totally committed then that's what the country needs.''

Boyd's stance follows Lee McCulloch's decision to end his Scotland career for family reasons last month and newspaper reports suggested more players could be poised to quit the national team.

"At the end of the day, I just want committed players because I'm Scottish through and through and I want the players in my squad to be totally committed,'' said Burley.

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