Steven Whittaker hoping to ease his Norwich City frustrations by impressing for Scotland
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
This season started so well for Norwich City's Steven Whittaker but the full-back has admitted he joined up with the Scotland squad this week on the back of a 'frustrating' couple of months.
Whittaker scored City's first goal of the season back in August, after a rampaging right-wing run saw him put Chris Hughton's side 1-0 up at Carrow Road.
His fortuitous cross-shot also teed-up Ricky van Wolfswinkel's 71st-minute equaliser in that 2-2 opening day Premier League draw - yet Whittaker now finds himself out of the Canaries starting XI.
The former Rangers man started both the recent 4-0 Capital One Cup defeat at Manchester United and the 7-0 league drubbing at Manchester City four days later, starting the latter match on the right of midfield and being hauled off at half-time.
That disastrous week saw the 29-year-old relegated to a watching brief as an unused substitute during Saturday's much-needed 3-1 victory against West Ham at Carrow Road.
Along with City team-mates Russell Martin and Robert Snodgrass, Whittaker is with Scotland this week for a home friendly at Hampden Park against the USA tomorrow night before flying to Norway for a second friendly match on Tuesday.
Whittaker said: 'I started the first four games and scored a couple of goals and thought I was doing quite well but then we played Tottenham away and lost 2-0 and I was dropped after that.
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'It was disappointing because again, like the Man City game, I felt I played okay that day.
'That's why it's frustrating because I don't feel I've done anything too wrong to not be playing. I feel I should be playing.
'It would be easier to take if I felt I was playing badly. Every player knows when they've been poor or done well. When you're playing poorly you put yourself up for being dropped but I felt I was doing all-right and scored a couple of goals.'
That second goal came during the 6-3 home win against League Two side Bury in the first round of the Capital One Cup in late August, four days before Whittaker played the full 90 minutes in City's first league win of the season, a 1-0 home win against Southampton.
He has gradually seen his club captain, and international colleague, Russell Martin reclaim the Canaries regular right-back birth though.
'I've always been involved and on the bench if I've not been playing,' Whiitaker told Scottish newspaper the Daily Record.
'I've had some conversations with the Norwich manager and he's explained his reasons so I'll need to keep my head down. It's not like I'm out of the picture so I just keep working away.
'You rely on people dropping form or injuries but your opportunity will come and that's what I'm waiting on at the minute.
'If you're maybe not playing well and get dropped then you do feel down in the dumps but I feel I've played well enough to stay in the team.
'I'm trying to keep that positive attitude and make sure I'm ready to grab the opportunity when it comes my way.
'I'm still as determined on the training field. I'm not the type of player who needs a cuddle, I just get on with it.'
Now Whittaker is hoping to ease his club troubles by adding to his 19 international caps.
'It's great for me to come here and play some games,' Edinburgh-born Whittaker added. 'I don't think there is such a thing as a meaningless friendly, especially at international level. You still want to have a positive performance and a positive result.
'Hopefully I'll get some game time. I'm probably not the only player in the Scotland squad not playing as much as they'd like.
'But you're all given the opportunity to play for Scotland if you perform well in training.
'Scotland have been playing some great football lately. I watched the Croatia game when I was suspended and I thought we were brilliant again.
'We've won four of the last five so it's a tremendous achievement and we have a good group of boys who are all confident and looking forward to what we can achieve.'