Sweden’s manager Janne Andersson has confirmed why he stumbled Celtic midfielder Carl Starfelt against Kosovo on Saturday.
Starfelt was again called up to his national team squad for the matches against Kosovo and Greece respectively. This is his second call in a row after missing Euro 2020 during his time with Rubin Kazan.
The Celtic summer signing has struggled to have a telling effect in Glasgow since his arrival. Starfelt has been a regular under Ange Postecoglou, but has not been able to get rid of basic errors so far as he still handles Scottish football.
And after being left out of the match day squad, Andersson has confirmed that he does not see Starfelt as a main player when he spoke to position competitor Alex Milosevic, who sat on the bench instead.
As quoted by the Swedish outlet FotbolSkanalen, Andersson said: “What we lose a little without Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a main player who can be decisive in situations if we get pressure on ourselves at the end of a match or have to force forward. You want players who are very good main players. Then Isaac Kiese Thelin also disappeared this week [due to injury], and he is also a very good main player.
“What made me choose Alex before Carl is his main game status. If I had chosen a player from the beginning based on their entry into the squad, Starfelt would have played. But when it comes to the question of having a center-back on the bench, I felt that Milosevic is very good on his head if we were to come under pressure towards the end or have to chase a goal.
“So my thoughts went there.”
The Celtic man Carl Starfelt needs to earn the trust of Sweden’s boss
Starfelt is still a relatively new addition to the Sweden squad. He made his debut only for his country 12 months ago in a friendly match against Russia. Since then, he has only been called three times.
You can see that Andersson is trying to be as diplomatic as possible here. What he is actually saying is that Starfelt is simply not good enough to be considered a major player at the moment. That there are alternative names in his squad, he feels he can trust more.
It is okay. As I said, Starfelt is at an early stage in his Swedish career even though he is 26. He has been late in international football, and he has only been part of a handful of camps so far.
It is a frustrating feeling that Starfelt is left out of the team for every competitive match. His only appearance for his country since his move to Celtic came in a friendly against Uzbekistan last month. But that probably says a lot about where the player is when it comes to club form.
Starfelt has not been a convincing figure at Parkhead – let’s not guess ourselves. There is talent there, but basic defensive mistakes have cost us badly already this season. He has regularly created it and it is up to Starfelt himself to delete it from his game and show Andersson that he is a reliable alternative.
These will be worrying if not surprising comments for Starfelt here. Hopefully, Starfelt can strike back and make himself a “head” player for his country in the coming months.
In other news, David Turnbull’s Scotland is only hoping for significant Celtic improvement
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