Date: 9th September 2006 at 7:17pm
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Pompey midfielder Richard Hughes has criticised Scotland boss Walter Smith for leaving him out of recent Scotland squads.

Hughes, who signed a new three-year deal with the club in the summer was raised in Italy, but having been born in Scotland former Scotland boss would bring him into the International set-up, along with former Pompey team-mate Nigel Quashie, wining the first of his five caps against Estonia in May 2004.

Hughes has claimed Smith would need nine months to find out he was in fact a defensive midfielder, and not a left winger, the position he was used in for the final ten minutes of a game with Austria nine months ago, his last taste of International football which will probably remain the case. Hughes said:

“I guess that says everything (reference to his wing play under Smith.) I played for ten minutes on the left wing against Austria and that has been my only chance to impress him. I find it slightly bewildering and bemusing.”

“I had a phone call from Walter afterwards saying he would not be calling me up again.”

“I appreciated him taking the trouble to do that, but he said he did not know enough about me. I put him in the picture about exactly where I played for future reference.”

“It is not as if we are blessed with an abundance of Premiership players.”

Hughes, who has only made two substitute appearances for us thus far this season, would also say:

“Walter has said he has not been to see me play and I find that hard to accept. There have been plenty of opportunities to see me since he took over from Berti Vogts.”

With regular first team opportunities likely to remain difficult for Hughes to come across I think it could prove more difficult for Smith to see Hughes now. I for one would happily keep Hughes, should he be happy to stay, for the whole of his deal though as the 27-yer-old is a very honest and professional performer. As I’ve said before he knows his strengths and plays to them.