'Sheffield Wednesday was the priority' - Liam Palmer explains difficult Scotland decision - and wants more caps
The door is still open for Liam Palmer to re-join Scotland’s attempt at a first World Cup qualification for 22 years.
That’s been the message from Steve Clarke to the man himself after Palmer revealed he passed up on the opportunity to cover injury in the squad earlier this year.
The Sheffield Wednesday defender, who has found himself covering a host of different positions in recent months, was a surprise exclusion from Clarke’s squad for Euro 2020.
Palmer was offered the chance to cover absences in a September triple-header that included trips to Denmark and Austria but was in the midst of contract negotiations and an important training schedule with Wednesday.
“The timing maybe wasn’t quite right, going up there and not playing,” Palmer said.
“My priority at the time was to get this deal sorted, be available and prioritise Sheffield Wednesday if you like.
“It can be a tough schedule and a tough load in a three-match break. You go away and the manager has been working on certain things, you suddenly find yourself out of the team.”
Clarke is a former colleague of Wednesday boss Darren Moore during their time at West Bromwich Albion and through clear communication with all three parties there is no ill-feeling over Palmer’s tough call.
Adding to his eight caps is still very much an ambition the Owls stalwart would like to achieve. Scotland are on a run of six consecutive wins and have secured themselves a home semi-final in the next round of qualifying for the Qatar World Cup.
“It’s very much a decision I made with Steve Clarke and the door is still open there,” he said. “That’s how we left it.
“Steve and Darren had a chat and the fact is at that time it just wasn’t right for me to go up there.
“They’ve a settled side, they’re doing really well with some really good players. I love going away with them and rubbing shoulders with some of the best players in the world.
“But it was the right decision for me at the time family-wise and club-wise. That’s the top and bottom of it really.
“We left it fine in terms of that conversation. He understood where I was coming from and how honest and open I was with him.
“I’m not going to lie, it was a big disappointment being left out of the Euros having made the squads two years straight and it was a bitter pill to swallow.
“But for me, I’ll try to use it as a motivation to improve.”
Moore shares an open dialogue with Clarke over Palmer and also Callum Paterson, who also missed out on Euros involvement having played a part in qualifying.
He speaks regularly with Northern Ireland boss Ian Baraclough about Bailey Peacock-Farrell, too.
Moore said: “Managers on an international stage will talk to you about players to find out how they’ve been in training and little insightful things about the individual or from a personal point of view.
“We’re too happy to share. We want players to represent their countries and there’s credibility for us as a football club. We’ve got players who can compete on that international stage.
“I worked with Steve at a previous club and so there’s always been that connection.”