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Scotland Boss Considered FIFA Challenge Over Andy Robertson Withdrawal

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Steve Clarke says he won’t pick a fight with Liverpool and others this month—but would in March.

Scotland vs. Russia - UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier Photo by Alan Harvey/SNS Group via Getty Images

Andy Robertson, who has been playing through a minor knock in recent weeks, has taken the international break off at the recommendation of team doctors in an effort to avoid said minor knock turning into a major issue.

As proven by the fact he’s played through it in recent weeks, though, it’s clear he could play if he felt it was important enough. That led to Scotland manager Steve Clarke being asked if he’s consider filing a complaint with FIFA.

“I don’t mind a fight if I have to, as long as it’s a fight for the right reason,” Clarke noted. “But for the moment I don’t see any value in it. When we talk about March, I’m sure everyone will turn up for the squad I pick in March.”

“It becomes a case of not wanting to cut off your nose to spite your face. You don’t want to cause upset between players, clubs and international managers. I also have to take it at face value that every call-off is an injury call-off.”

Under FIFA bylaws, if a player misses international duty for illegitimate reasons, he can be barred from competing for his club for five days following the end of the international break. It’s a rule that’s rarely enforced.

Meanwhile, Robertson himself has come out to say that part of the reason he’s taking this international break off as those are the games that will truly decide “whether we go to a major tournament or not” for Scotland.

“You don’t want to harm the relationship between players and their club,” Clarke added. “It’s easy to say invoke the five-day rule, but I’m not sure there are any winners when you do that. It puts the player in a difficult position.”