Scots boss stops short of Lambert criticism
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Gordon Strachan claims his Scotland international full-back Alan Hutton's ongoing first-team exile at Villa is a "mystery of football".
But the Scottish boss stopped short of blaming Villa boss Paul Lambert for wrecking the ex-Rangers star's career by ignoring Hutton and making him train with the reserves.
"It's very strange he's not playing Premier League football because the games he's played for us recently have been outstanding," said Strachan after his side's 0-0 draw with the United States at Hampden Park.
"It must be hard for him to look over at the first-team training at Villa. I'm sure Paul's not doing that deliberately. There's sometimes only a certain amount of players you want to work with.
''Some players say they've been confined to the reserves when that's not really the case.
"It may just be the manager wants to work with 16 players and he's No.20, so it's not a case of being banished."
Hutton has been a regular starter for Scotland this season, despite not playing a competitive game for Villa since May 2012 and did not let anyone down at Hampden on Friday night.
Lambert appeared to make his mind up on him after his first friendly in charge, but the club have been saddled by his big-wage contract which runs until 2015.
Hutton was loaned to Nottingham Forest and Real Mallorca last season but, despite Strachan rating him among the Premier League's best right-backs, he has been unable to secure a permanent move.
"He's been brilliant," said Strachan. "It's a mystery of football, how he's not getting a game somewhere.
"I look at other games in the Premier League, look at right-backs and go, 'He's better than them'.
"I just think the club game misses his marauding runs."