With some incredibly important World Cup qualifying matches coming up against Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia in early autumn, Gordon Strachan will be facing a tough decision as to who to include in his Scottish squad.
Whilst Strachan will take heart from the determined performance that Scotland showed in their recent match against England, there are still questions over whether his team have the resolve necessary to make it through to Russia next year.
The Scottish team has plenty of very promising youngsters like Kieran Tierney and Oliver Burke, but there are some commentators who feel that the side could do with some more experienced players to guide them to World Cup glory.
And this is why Phil Bardsley will be hoping to get the call from Strachan over the summer months. The tough full-back has been playing his third season for Stoke City, and despite suffering from injury troubles, he’s managed to illustrate a versatility that’s made him a key part of the team.
Despite some criticism over Stoke City’s decision to renew Bardsley’s contract, he’ll be keen to help the side maintain their solid performance in the Premier League. And it’s this durability that will make the full-back a potential option for Strachan ahead of their next game against Lithuania on 1 September.
However, there are still some questions about Bardsley’s temperament that must be addressed before Strachan reverses past form and introduces the Stoke City player back into the squad.
As well as the infamous episode where Bardsley knocked Wayne Rooney out in a playful boxing match, he was also pictured lying underneath a pile of £50 notes after a boozy roulette win at a casino in Sunderland.
Whilst such antics would be amusing for anybody who’s taken the time to play some of the roulette games on a website like LadyLucks, it’s fairly unlikely that Gordon Strachan will take such a lighthearted view.
This is particularly so as the experienced defenders Christophe Berra and Charlie Mulgrew are already deeply entrenched in the Scottish side, and so there’s a good chance that Strachan may use this opportunity to give younger players the opportunity to perform at the top level.
But just like you never know what’s going to happen in a roulette game, there’s always the possibility that we haven’t seen the last of Phil Bardsley in the Scottish squad just yet.