Ex Rangers star plays but McBurnie Scotland controversy overshadows Sheffield United tie
Photo by Jose Manuel Alvarez/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Ex Rangers star plays but McBurnie Scotland controversy overshadows Sheffield United tie

Former Rangers star Wes Foderingham turned out for Sheffield United in a pre-season fixture overshadowed by controversy with Scotland player Oli McBurnie.

Foderingham was released by Rangers in June and after a brief spell as a free agent, secured a dream switch to Premier League club Sheffield United on a three-year contract.

The subsequent big-money signing of Aaron Ramsdale from Bournemouth was a blow to the ex-Ger’s playing chances, but he was given a first big chance to impress on Tuesday with the club’s no.1 away on England U21 duty.

Fods kept a clean sheet in a 2-0 win for the Blades at Derby County, in an outing that will likely give him a confidence boost ahead of the new season.

However, the fixture was overshadowed by controversy involving Oli McBurnie.

The Sheffield United striker, who is a well-known bluenose, turned down Scotland selection for their upcoming Nations League fixtures against Israel and the Czech Republic due to injury, only to come on at half-time for the Blades against Derby.

The move prompted a furious backlash from a section of Scotland supporters on Twitter, forcing Scotland boss Steve Clarke to issue an explanation.

“I spoke to Chris Wilder at the end of last week and he told me Oli hadn’t been training because he had a laceration in his foot that had become infected and that he wouldn’t be fit enough to play at international level,” said Clarke, as quoted by the Scotsman. “Chris is one of the most honest men in football and we had a good discussion about where Oli was at.”

“People have to remember there’s a world of difference between getting some minutes in a pre-season friendly and preparing for an international double-header.

“After discussions with the medical team and sports science team, it made sense for everyone for Oli to stay at Sheffield and work on his fitness.”

Rangers supporting McBurnie stayed with Sheffield United rather than joining up with Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

McBurnie has regularly been a target for criticism since he made his debut for Scotland in 2018 but although from a distance this looked like a poor move, there’s a clear logic behind it.

There’s little point in including a player who isn’t 100% fit in an international squad that will be training at high intensity ahead of two important fixtures.

McBurnie’s absence could pave the way for Lyndon Dykes to land a debut start against Israel on Friday night.