SCOTLAND manager Gordon Strachan does not believe any of his older players will retire from international football before next year’s World Cup campaign.

Shaun Maloney, who turns 33 in January, has already pledged to carry on, but doubts have hung over over Scott Brown and Darren Fletcher, who are both in their thirties.

It has become a common trait in recent years for players to opt out of playing for their countries in order to prolong their club careers. Given that the Scotland captain Brown has had many injury problems and Fletcher, his predecessor, missed two years with illness, few would criticise if they told Strachan enough was enough.

However, none have as yet spoken to the manager who does not expect to receive any such phone call before the next campaign begins.

Strachan said: "Nobody has spoken to me about retiring. I can understand when you get to a certain age, you think, 'I've given it my best shot'. It's 66 days they are away from home without pay. I defy anybody to say 'I am away for 66 days, I am not getting paid by the way, dear, all the best, you look after the three kids'. I can understand that.”

Asked whether he thought Brown would be one who was at least considering his options at the moment, Strachan said: "You'll have to ask him but I know he's not weighing it up. You'll have to ask him but I don't think you need to ask. The feedback I have got from everybody, makes it easy for me to continue my job."

One the reasons Strachan stayed on following the European Championship campaign was because of the enthusiasm shown to him by senior and younger players alike.

He said: "The reason you take the job is because from their enthusiasm, you think: 'yeah, I can do this again with these guys'.

"If I thought, 'there's an indifference to that or maybe they are all getting too old', then I probably would have went, 'it's not for me'. Maybe that would have been unfair on the next manager coming in but I could only have gone along if I seen that enthusiasm from the players.

"I know that the players fully believe because we have players turning up now with injuries knowing they are not going to be fit, just to be part of it, I think that's great."