Leeds United: Warnock on warpath at skipper’s night-flight home

Robert Snodgrass in match action.

Robert Snodgrass in match action.

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Leeds United manager Neil Warnock will seek answers from Scotland coach Craig Levein after criticising the schedule which saw Robert Snodgrass arrive home from international duty at 4am yesterday.

Warnock branded Scotland’s early-morning return from a friendly in Slovenia “ridiculous” and admitted it was “asking a lot” for Snodgrass to recover in time for tomorrow’s Championship game against Southampton.

United’s new captain appeared as a substitute in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw between Scotland and Slovenia in the town of Koper, and Levein’s squad travelled back from the continent immediately after the game.

Warnock, who also lost Republic of Ireland defender Darren O’Dea for the early part of this week after his call-up for a friendly with the Czech Republic, planned to discuss the situation with Levein directly and said he would favour an end to the international friendlies which fall throughout the domestic season.

Snodgrass was due to train with Leeds today and is expected to start against league leaders Southampton at Elland Road tomorrow having claimed the armband ahead of last weekend’s draw with Portsmouth. But an unimpressed Warnock, whose side are fighting to stay in contention for the play-offs, said: “This week’s been a bit of a disgrace really, with the international break.

“We’ve got a lad coming back from Slovenia with Scotland at four o’clock in the morning I’m told. Surely an international team could stop overnight and fly back the next day so the players don’t lose their sleep cycle. I think it’s ridiculous.

“It’s asking a lot of (Snodgrass) and he’s such a major player for us as well. I’ll be speaking to Craig Levein because if the facts are the facts I’ve been given then I do think they should look to do things differently. There’s got to be more consideration.

“What can you say about friendly internationals? I hope friendly games are banned altogether. Someone asked me ‘did you watch the England friendly?’ the other night but I never watch them if I can help it. They’re diabolical usually.”

The Scottish Football Association was approached for comment but did not respond.

Defender Alex Bruce has been ruled out of tomorrow’s clash with Southampton (ko 5.20pm) after pulling a hamstring, and midfielder Mika Vayrynen is also on the sidelines after undergoing surgery on a groin problem.

Warnock, meanwhile, lost Adam Smith on Monday after Tottenham Hotspur recalled the defender from his loan at Elland Road, and the Leeds boss said: “We’re a bit thin on the ground.

“But it’s an opportunity for the lads who did well at Portsmouth to show me what they can do in the spotlight of having 20,000-odd fans, TV cameras and a game against the league leaders. It’s going to be good to look at them individually and see how they come up.

“We’ve been disrupted this week and we’ve struggled to have a good training session but that might be a good lead-up to Southampton. If things had have gone well I’d have been panicking!

“There’s been a bit of illness around the place and a bereavement, all sorts of problems training-wise. But when the whistle goes tomorrow, everyone will be up for it.”

Chris Wood.

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