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Last Updated: Friday, 3 December, 2004, 06:50 GMT
Smith outlines his new approach
New Scotland manager Walter Smith
New Scotland manager Walter Smith has not ruled out asking players to return from self-imposed exile.

Everton duo Duncan Ferguson and David Weir both withdrew from international football, as did Dominic Matteo.

"Once I sit down and look at the squad and I think there is a player who can enhance it, then I will approach them," said Smith.

"If he says he doesn't want to play I will ask him why and try to get them to change their mind."

And Smith said he would consider using non-Scots-born players, who could qualify under Fifa's new relaxed residency guidelines.

"Obviously, it would be preferable if they had a Scottish bloodline," said Smith.

"But I would never close the door to anyone.

"We would take each case as they come along but it would only be for players who could improve the team - not just for the sake of it."

I think the number of friendlies in the past has resulted in too many withdrawals
Walter Smith
The new manager, who has accepted a contract which takes him up to the 2008 European Championships, will also take steps to limit the number of friendly matches his team play.

"The Future team is a very good idea to look at prospective players but I think the number of friendlies in the past has resulted in too many withdrawals," Smith continued.

"You have to question the benefit of playing them unless you are certain you have a group of players who are going to be playing in the next competitive game.

"Recent history suggests that that hasn't been the case so it may be more advantageous if we have group meetings where we can lay down the future of the international team.

"The first thing I have to do is to get a nucleus of players together, so I don't envisage the situation where we cap as many players as we did in the past."

Smith has asked Berti Vogts' number two Tommy Burns to be his assistant if the Celtic youth coach can persuade the Parkhead club to agree to his continued involvement with the national side.

I don't agree with those who say we have the worst group of international players ever
Walter Smith
"I've asked Tommy if he'll stay on because I don't see that there is any need for a change," added Smith.

"He has one or two problems that he has to sort out at his club and once he has attended to them, then we can make the final decision fully."

Smith then went on to dismiss the detractors who claim the national post has now become a poisoned chalice.

He said: "I don't agree with those who say we have the worst group of international players ever.

"We may not have highly-talented individuals that we had in the past, but we have a lot of team players who can still generate good results for Scotland.

"It is down to me to get them together and have an upturn in form in the next couple of years."

News conference: Scotland boss Walter Smith

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