Serbia removes ex-U.S. youth player Neven Subotic from Euro qualifying
Serbia coach Dick Advocaat said Wednesday that defender Neven Subotic and midfielder Adem Ljajic won't be part of the team for Euro 2016 qualifying any longer, according to Reuters.
Subotic has made 36 appearances for the Serbia national team, while Ljajic has made nine appearances.
“My exchange of mails and text messages with Subotic has left no doubt that he doesn’t like playing for the national team,” Advocaat told a news conference. “That being the case, I think it’s best to keep players with such an attitude away from the squad to prevent them from disrupting the good atmosphere we have.
“Ljajic is a good player but he has a different mentality and I am looking for players with the right mentality. So far I’ve seen that almost everyone is happy to be in the squad and I have no need for players who don’t have a good feeling about the national team.”
Subotic was at the center of a closely scrutinized national team selection process in 2008 before he ultimately chose to play for Serbia over the United States.
Though Subotic was born in the then-Yugoslavia, his family moved to the U.S. when he was 11. Subotic played for both the U.S. U-17 national team and the U-20 team, appearing at the FIFA U-17 World Championship in 2005. But he wasn't selected to the team for the U-20 World Championship in 2007, part of the reason he ultimately chose to play with Serbia.
Subotic played in two games for Serbia at the 2010 World Cup and played for the team in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup, which Serbia did not make.
The 25-year-old also played for Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga, for whom he had made 162 appearances going into this season.
Ljajic plays for Roma in Serie A, joining the team from Fiorentina before last season. He had six goals in 28 appearances for Roma last year and has one goal in five appearances this season.
Serbia opens Euro 2016 qualifying Oct. 11 against Armenia.
- Ben Estes