Advocaat begins with Russia's old guard
Russia's new coach Dick Advocaat on Thursday announced his 20-player squad for a friendly against Bulgaria in Moscow on 11 August, but warned players that he was looking for major improvements.
Advocaat takes charge for the first time since succeeding fellow Dutchman Guus Hiddink with Wednesday's match proving a key indicator ahead of the UEFA EURO 2012 qualifiers which start in September. "The players remain the same," Advocaat said. "But we will make certain changes in the system of playing. And we will definitely make some tactical changes in our playing."
"I saw the Russian young players' performance and found out that majority of them are still not ready to play for the national team," he added. "Guus Hiddink did a great job in Russia, qualifying for EURO 2008 and his team played very well at that event. But the next two years were much less successful. The players should take it into consideration, understand it and change their attitude."
The 62-year-old Advocaat, who led Zenit St Petersburg to the Russian title in 2007, has called up five of the club's players into his squad. Four of the St Petersburg midfielders, supported by Diniyar Bilyaletdinov of English Premier League side Everton, will likely form the team's backbone in the match against Bulgaria.
Forwards Andrei Arshavin and Roman Pavlyuchenko, who are both playing in the English Premier League with Arsenal and Spurs respectively, will spearhead the attack alongside Pavel Pogrebnyak of German Bundesliga side Stuttgart striker.
Goalkeepers: Igor Akinfeyev (CSKA Moscow), Vladimir Gabulov (Dynamo Moscow)
Defenders: Alexander Anyukov (Zenit St Petersburg), Alexei Berezutsky, Vasily Berezutsky, Sergei Ignashevich (all CSKA Moscow), Yury Zhirkov (Chelsea/ENG), Denis Kolodin (Dynamo Moscow)
Midfielders: Diniyar Biliyaletdinov (Everton/ENG), Vladimir Bystrov, Igor Denisov, Konstantin Zyryanov, Roman Shirokov (all Zenit St Petersburg), Alan Dzagoyev (CSKA Moscow), Igor Semshov (Dynamo Moscow), Dmitry Torbinsky (Lokomotiv Moscow)
Strikers: Andrei Arshavin (Arsenal/ENG), Roman Pavlyuchenko (Tottenham/ENG), Pavel Pogrebnyak (Stuttgart/GER), Dmitry Sychev (Lokomotiv Moscow)