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Scotland lack 'outstanding talent', says Shaun Maloney

Updated: Tuesday, 27 May 2014 18:37 | Comments

Shaun Maloney: 'I don't think there is a player in our team that we can afford not to have working or tracking back'
Shaun Maloney: 'I don't think there is a player in our team that we can afford not to have working or tracking back'

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Shaun Maloney admits Scotland, Ireland's Euro 2016 Group D opponents, lack outstanding individual talent but believes the team are more than making up for it with hard work and a collective sense of responsibility.

Like Ireland, Scotland failed to qualify for this summer's World Cup in Brazil, but the Tartan Army face Nigeria in a friendly on Wednesday night, looking to extend an unbeaten run to six matches.

Ireland travel to Scotland on Friday, 14 November. The two teams last met in the 2011 Nations Cup decider, which Ireland won 1-0. 

Gordon Strachan's side face a tough test against Germany in their first European Championship qualifier on 7 September, but four wins out of their last five games means there is room for optimism.

"I don't think there is a player in our team that we can afford not to have working or tracking back," Maloney said.

"Nobody is good enough to be a luxury player, and I don't think this manager would stand for that anyway.

"We're taught all week exactly what he wants from us and then it's up to us to apply that over the course of a match."

"Nobody is good enough to be a luxury player"

Hip and back problems saw Maloney miss the majority of Wigan's season, and the 31-year-old was also absent for Scotland's recent run of form.

"I was desperate to get in the squad, I've only played five or six games towards the end of the season so I'm not feeling fatigued and I'm just happy to be here," Maloney said.

"It's been brilliant - it's five games unbeaten and there's been a pretty big turnaround in terms of results."

He continued: "Even the last time I was in the squad you could feel a change in terms of the belief, and it's carried on over the season.”

Maloney said that Strachan makes a point to scrutinize the shape of the team and to communicate the role of each player during training. "The players go out there and know their job - the games I've watched and played under him for Scotland we've just been harder to beat,” Maloney said.

Nigeria are warming up for the World Cup where they have been drawn in Group F alongside Argentina, Iran and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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