Scotland warn Robert Lewandowski they won’t hold back
Gordon Strachan has revealed that Ikechi Anya is out of the game against Poland
Polish striker Robert Lewandowski during his team’s training session in Warsaw on Tuesday. Photograph: EPA
The Poland striker has demanded a strong referee in the European Championship qualifier at Hampden after complaining he could not run properly during last year’s 2-2 draw against Scotland in Warsaw following a tackle by Gordon Greer.
The Brighton man caught the Bayern Munich forward with a high, straight-leg, studs-up challenge as he shot for goal, but the referee had already blown for an infringement.
Lewandowski revealed after the game that the “brutal” challenge had broken his shin pad but Norwich defender Martin will not hold back on Thursday night.
“It was a great tackle,” Martin told Sky Sports. “As a defender now it’s harder to make those tackles early on in the game.
“People always talk about — it’s quite an old school thing now — getting an early tackle in, letting them know they’re in a game.
“You run the risk of getting booked or sent off now with the way the game has gone in terms of physicality.
“That tackle was a great tackle, it wasn’t even a free-kick, so if we get the chance to do that again on Thursday then I’m sure someone will take it.”
Lewandowski has also spoken of his respect for Scotland’s style of play and Martin understandably repaid the compliment to a player who has scored 12 goals in four games for Bayern, including five in nine minutes against Wolfsburg.
Martin is looking forward to stopping the top scorer in the European Championship qualifiers, who has notched 10 goals, as Scotland seek the result they need to retain hope of making the play-offs.
“He’s one of the best I’ve played against,” he said. “His goal record speaks for itself... and the form he is in at the minute.
“But as a defender I always look at strikers’ attributes, where you can affect them and try to influence him throughout the game.
“Players like him and (Thomas) Muller and (Mario) Gotze for Germany who are in our group are all in that top five or six in Europe
“It’s up to us to stop him. I relish challenges like that, I enjoy playing against players like that.
“It’s what I have worked so hard for throughout my career — to test yourself against players like that.
“We’re doing it week in, week out in the Premier League at the minute and this will be no different. It’s a challenge I’m looking forward to.”
Manager Gordon Strachan has revealed Ikechi Anya is out of the game.
Strachan, speaking at the national stadium, said: “Ikechi is not going to make it, he has a tight calf so he has gone back to get treatment at Watford.
“James Morrison (suspended for Poland game) is going to struggle. He got an injury at the end of the game against Crystal Palace the other day.
“Charlie Mulgrew (thigh) was never going to be fit. Charlie is only here because he wanted to be here and add to the squad and what we do behind the scenes and he has certainly done that.”