MOSCOW — New Russia coach Leonid Slutsky has recalled some of his predecessor Fabio Capello's favorite players for the final two group stage matches of qualification for next year's European championships.
For his first two matches in charge, crucial wins against Sweden and Liechtenstein earlier this month, Slutsky shook up the squad by bringing in a raft of veteran players.
The trend toward experience continues, but Slutsky has dropped three fringe players in favor of midfielders favored by Capello.
Between them, Zenit St. Petersburg's Viktor Faizulin and Lokomotiv Moscow duo Dmitry Tarasov and Alexander Samedov have made 51 appearances for Russia, 49 of them during Capello's three-year tenure, which ended in July.
Russia is in the second automatic qualifying spot in Group G and plays Moldova away on Oct. 9 before Montenegro visits Moscow on Oct. 12. Group leader Austria is eight points ahead of Russia and has already qualified, while third-place Sweden trails Russia by two points.
The 24-man squad now features nine players aged over 30, led by 36-year-old center back Sergei Ignashevich of CSKA Moscow.
No players are under 24, fitting Slutsky's short-term mission to qualify Russia for Euro 2016, rather than prepare for Russia's home World Cup in 2018. Slutsky, who is combining his Russia duties with coaching CSKA, only has a deal with Russia until the end of the qualifying stages.
The squad is also heavily biased toward the Russian Premier League, with only one player based abroad, Real Madrid winger Denis Cheryshev.
Igor Akinfeev, Alexei Berezutsky, Vasily Berezutsky, Denis Cheryshev, Igor Denisov, Alan Dzagoev, Artyom Dzyuba, Viktor Faizulin, Denis Glushakov, Sergei Ignashevich, Alexei Ionov, Dmitry Kombarov, Alexander Kokorin, Oleg Kuzmin, Yuri Lodygin, Pavel Mamaev, Artyom Rebrov, Alexander Samedov, Oleg Shatov, Roman Shirokov, Igor Smolnikov, Fyodor Smolov, Dmitry Tarasov, Yuri Zhirkov.