Left is right for Scotland star Bardsley

05/01/2011 - Barclays Premier League - Aston Villa vs. Sunderland - Phillip Bardsley of Sunderland celebrates after scoring their 1st goal - Photo: Simon Stacpoole / Offside.

05/01/2011 - Barclays Premier League - Aston Villa vs. Sunderland - Phillip Bardsley of Sunderland celebrates after scoring their 1st goal - Photo: Simon Stacpoole / Offside.

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PHIL Bardsley aims to protect a fledgling international career by turning his defensive versatility to his advantage.

The 25-year-old, who was first called up by Scotland last October, finds himself competing for the right-back slot with Spurs defender Alan Hutton – the man who took his position during a loan spell at Sunderland last year.

But Bardsley says while he is happy to challenge Hutton for the role again, he has been producing some of the form of his career for Sunderland at left-back and is just as happy to play there for his country.

“There are some good right-backs in the Scotland squad but the way I’ve been playing lately, I am as confident as anybody,” he said.

“Tottenham are doing well, Alan has been doing well but I’ve been playing pretty well at Sunderland too.

“It’s up to the manager whichever team he selects. I’ll just focus on doing well in training and hopefully get a start.

“But for Sunderland this season I have played left-back and right-back and, when called upon, I’ve gone in and done the best I can.

“Whether that’s to play at right-back or left-back or wherever for Scotland, as long as I am in the team I am happy and I will try and do the best that I can for the country.”

See Tuesday’s Mail for full story ...