March 12 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Norwich City winger Robert Snodgrass is hoping to transfer his impressive record against man of the moment Gareth Bale to the international stage.
Snodgrass could win his ninth cap for Scotland in the World Cup qualifying match against Wales at Hampden Park on Friday night (8pm).
It would pit him against Tottenham’s Bale for the fourth time this season, and he has yet to finish on the losing side after two 1-1 Premier League draws for the Canaries and a home victory in the Capital One Cup.
Snodgrass scored a late equaliser against Spurs at White Hart Lane in September, while Bale scored in both Carrow Road fixtures.
The former Leeds man is a candidate for a place in national team boss Gordon Strachan’s starting line-up after playing 45 minutes in the 1-0 friendly win over Estonia last month.
Bale scored the winner for the Welsh when the countries met in Cardiff in October, and has 25 goals for club and country this season.
The 25-year-old Snodgrass – who missed Scotland’s defeats by Wales and Belgium through injury – admitted: “Bale’s in a side that is in the top four in the Premier League. He’s got great players round about him, but he’s carrying Spurs right now. He’s unbelievable.
“However, I’ve played against him three times this season with Norwich and I’m undefeated.
“We got two draws in the league and beat them 2-1 in the League Cup.
“Bale did score a wonder goal against us at Carrow Road in January, and that 30 seconds showed just what he can do.
“He’s shown that on a number of occasions this season.
“So we need to watch him closely because he’s at the top of his game right now.”
However, Snodgrass, whose only defeat playing against Bale came with Leeds in an FA Cup replay against Tottenham in 2010, is not losing any sleep over taking him on again.
The City star is more concerned with what he can contribute to Scotland’s bid for a miracle recovery in Group A.
He told the Glasgow Evening Times: “You are required to do a job. For me, if I’m attacking, I’m not going to be worrying about Gareth Bale.
“I’m going to be concerned with what I can do to affect the game. That’s why you’re in the team.
“Whatever way the manager sets Scotland up, it won’t be to stop Bale. It will be to try and win a football match.
“We’re at home, there will be a big crowd at Hampden, and there is no better feeling.”
Both countries will be battling to make their encounter more than merely a wooden spoon affair as they occupy the bottom two places in the qualifying group after four matches. Brazil 2014 seems a long way off, with Scotland on two points and Wales on three – while Belgium and Croatia have 10 points each at the top.
But Snodgrass – who scored in his first Hampden international appearance against Denmark last year – will do his utmost to keep Scotland’s slender qualifying hopes alive.
He said: “If you aren’t mentally and physically driven for these games, then there’s no point being a footballer.
“It should not take a manager to try to gee you up. You should be ready anyway, in my opinion.
“The manager will do his bit. But as soon as you cross that white line, it’s up to you as a player to affect the game.”