Matt Ritchie: Newcastle winger asks not be considered for Scotland 'for forseeable future'

Matt Ritchie in action for Scotland
Ritchie has won 16 caps since 2015, but only played once under Alex McLeish
Nations League League C, Group 1: Albania v Scotland
Venue: Loro Borici Stadium, Shkoder Date: Saturday, 17 November Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland; live text commentary on BBC Sport website

Newcastle winger Matt Ritchie has become the latest Scotland player to ask to be excluded from international duty "for the forseeable future".

Ritchie, who has started Newcastle's last seven games, turned down a request to be in the squad for Nations League games against Albania and Israel.

"I wanted Matt to come in, but he has asked to be left out at the moment," said head coach Alex McLeish.

He added Ritchie's reasons were "private" but "he has not retired".

"It is not something for me to discuss," McLeish said. "He had injury issues as well, and again, there is management of his injuries.

"You don't know everyone's private life so you have to respect that."

McLeish is already without Crystal Palace midfielder James McArthur, who recently retired from Scotland duty to focus on his club career, while Robert Snodgrass, who has been involved in all West Ham's games this season, is also missing from the latest squad.

"He's managing a kind of ankle knock that is ongoing," McLeish explained. "It made him miss the last games [against Israel and Portugal] too. So again, it's just something out of our control."

McLeish also has to contend with a growing injury list, with strikers Steven Naismith and Leigh Griffiths, and Hearts centre-back John Souttar, all sidelined, while Blackburn defender Charlie Mulgrew was named in the squad despite struggling with a rib injury.

Scotland face Albania in Shkoder on Saturday, 17 November before Israel visit Hampden three days later.

The Scots trail League C Group 1 leaders Israel, who have played a game more, by three points.

Top Stories