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By ESPN Staff

Burley saddened by number of withdrawals

George Burley has expressed his disappointment at the number of withdrawals from his squad as Scotland prepare to take on World Cup qualifiers Japan at Nissan Stadium in Yokohama.

Amid a growing furore within the host nation over the absence of 10 players from the squad originally named by Burley, the former Ipswich and Southampton boss apologised for bringing a weakened party to Japan.

But, despite the pointed questions being directed at Burley in the build-up to the game, the manager stressed there was little he could do and laid part of the blame for the situation on the rough and tumble of football in Britain.

"I'm an international manager and I think I'm the most disappointed because I've lost a number of very good players,'' said Burley. "I've lost four players at the weekend because of injuries. Then we had four players who came and two of them trained but they were struggling with injuries. Two players couldn't train after the weekend.

"British football is very competitive and you get knocks. I'm the most disappointed, I want the strongest team but what it does it allows me to play some of the younger players and some who haven't been involved before.

"So we're very disappointed. I wanted to bring those 22 players that I picked originally but unfortunately I couldn't because of injury.

"We had an Old Firm game on the weekend and we all know they can be very bruising.

"Unfortunately we have lost a number of players. We would have loved to have them available but it's an opportunity to have a look at players. We all know what the Browns, the Fletchers, the McFaddens and your McManuses can do, so this will give other players the opportunity to show what they can do in international football.

"I apologise, we have lost a lot of players but I am the most disappointed fellow here, to be honest, because I wanted the squad that I picked but sometimes the way that it goes was that they were injured.

"We've got some very good young players who will play their first game so it's important for us to build again.

"We were disappointed to lose out to Holland in the last game of the group and if we had won that game I think we would have been in the play-offs so now we are looking forward to building on the last two performances, against Macedonia and Holland.''

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