Scotland Manager Steve Clarke Empathizes with Squad Selection Challenges
In a twist of fate, Scotland manager Steve Clarke finds himself facing the daunting task of selecting his squad for Euro 2024 after experiencing personal disappointment in missing out on four major tournaments during his playing career.
Reflecting on his own experiences, Clarke expresses empathy towards the players who will inevitably be left behind as he finalizes his selection. He understands their pain and acknowledges that making such decisions is not easy.
“I understand it. I get it,” he says. “When I do have to make those decisions, at least the players will know I do have empathy with them because I have been in that situation myself.”
Clarke recognizes that there is still a long journey ahead before finalizing the squad and emphasizes the unpredictable nature of injuries which may influence his choices along the way.
The process of selecting the squad for Euro 2024 will undoubtedly be challenging for Clarke, but he admits that he looks forward to fulfilling this aspect of his job despite its difficulty.
While representing Scotland six times between 1987 and 1994, Clarke’s club success at Chelsea did not translate into international tournament appearances. He narrowly missed out on being part of Scotland’s World Cup squads in both 1990 and 1998 as well as missing out on European Championships in 1992 and 1996.
Clarke reveals how close he came to making it to Italy ’90: “The 1990 one was actually closer than 1998 because by that time I had more or less given up,” he says. “Craig Brown did cap me in 1994 against Holland in the last game before they went to the World Cup. But I just felt that between 1994 and 1998, I was playing some of the best football of my career. I was surrounded by better players and in a really good place.”
Despite feeling optimistic about his versatility potentially securing him a spot in the squad for France ’98, Craig Brown had different plans, leaving Clarke disappointed.
Known for his loyalty to Scotland’s current crop of players, Clarke acknowledges that upcoming talents such as Tino Livramento and Elliot Anderson will be under consideration for Euro 2024 selection. He emphasizes that loyalty must go hand-in-hand with performance when it comes to earning their places.
“Loyalty is part of it, but with that loyalty must come performances,” Clarke explains. “So long as they are performing for me and for the country then loyalty can be rewarded. If the performances are not there, it’s more difficult to be loyal.”
The task of finalizing a 23-man squad will undoubtedly pose its challenges for Clarke; however, he remains focused on ensuring he selects the strongest possible team to represent Scotland at Euro 2024.
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