Steve Clarke exclusive: Scotland coach talks Euro 2024, his four-year plan and more | football news

Steve Clarke says his Scotland team took four years to prepare and refused to rule out taking four goalkeepers to Euro 2024.

The head coach has named a provisional squad of 28 players which will be reduced to 26 on June 7, two days before Scotland fly to their training base in Germany.

Ben Doak, James Forrest and Ross McCrorie have been selected ahead of their final warm-up matches against Gibraltar and Finland, with Craig Gordon, Ryan Jack and Anthony Ralston also included.

Scotland’s provisional 28-player squad

  • Goalkeepers: Zander Clark (Hearts), Craig Gordon (Hearts), Angus Gunn (Norwich), Liam Kelly (Motherwell)
  • Defenders: Liam Cooper (Leeds United), Grant Hanley (Norwich), Jack Hendry (Al-Ettifaq), Ross McCrorie (Bristol City), Scott McKenna (Copenhagen), Ryan Porteous (Watford), Anthony Ralston (Celtic), Andy Robertson (Liverpool), John Souttar (Rangers), Greg Taylor (Celtic), Kieran Tierney (Real Sociedad)
  • Midfielders: Stuart Armstrong (Southampton), Ryan Christie (Bournemouth), Billy Gilmour (Brighton), Ryan Jack (Rangers), Kenny McLean (Norwich), John McGinn (Aston Villa), Callum McGregor (Celtic), Scott McTominay (Manchester United) ). )
  • Forwards: Che Adams (Southampton), Ben Doak (Liverpool), Lyndon Dykes (Queens Park Rangers), James Forrest (Celtic), Lawrence Shankland (Hearts)

Clarke spoke exclusively to sky sports Luke Shanley at Hampden Park, explaining his key decisions and hopes for Euro 2024…

LS: How difficult have the last few months been, working on the team and then realizing that you’ll also be able to pick three additional bodies?

Clarke: “Complicated. Starting with the friendly matches in March, we suffered significant injuries in a position, unfortunately, where you lose your two first-choice right-backs. Going from 23 to 26 gives you more imponderables, it gives you more in your head. The Last week I told my wife: ‘my head is like a dryer’. I had so many things going through my head because you are trying to cover every scenario, to look ahead, to predict what will happen in the future and you can’t do it. “But I hope I have enough possibilities to cover as many results as I can.”

LS: You’ve named a team of 28. Do you have others lined up?

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Ben Doak has been capped six times by Scotland U21

Clarke: “No. The reserve team will be the under-21s. There are some players there who were obviously tested and we thought about selection, but it hasn’t happened to them yet. There is still time before we name the final team. There is still one. One or two doubts of the 28 that I have. There are still games to play, so all those guys should show up and do well for Scott (Gemmill) in the under-21 games, because that would be the extended team, if you will. brings us closer to 50 players.

LS: Will you take four goalkeepers to the Euro Cup or will there be three?

SEVILLE, SPAIN - OCTOBER 12: Liam Kelly (L) and Zander Clark (R) of Scotland before a UEFA Euro 2024 Qualifier at Estadio De La Cartuja, on October 12, 2023, in Seville, Spain.  (Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group)
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Zander Clark (right) moved ahead of Liam Kelly when number one Angus Gunn was injured

Clarke: “In a 26-man team, as long as I feel that I have enough cover for all other positions, then it is possible to choose four goalkeepers. The logic behind this would say that the number 3 goalkeeper or the one who becomes the third goalkeeper can be bombarded in training doing too much to be able to share the workload. I think Julian Nagelsmann (Germany coach) also touched on that a little bit because it can be a difficult life being the third goalkeeper and everyone wants to have a goalkeeper. filming after training and you do it for almost a month. It’s a lot of work for one man to cover. So there’s a case that four have to cover, but there’s also a case that three have to cover because they might have to cover it. positions in the outfield and that will be one of the difficult decisions.

LS: How important is Craig Gordon’s experience to make the final team or not?

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - MARCH 19: Craig Gordon and Angus Gunn during a Scotland training session at Lesser Hampden, on March 19, 2024, in Glasgow, Scotland.  (Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group)
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Gordon, 41, is in the provisional squad after his double leg break alongside No. 1 Gunn (right)

Clarke: “He could be Ben Doak’s father! That’s the age difference we have in the team. For goalkeepers, if you go with three goalkeepers at this stage and then you get an injury to the goalkeeper, you have a goalkeeper who has nothing to do”. “He hasn’t trained, he hasn’t worked. So everyone will work together. Craig’s experience in and around the team will be good, even with a word in someone’s ear. He’s been there, he knows the ins and outs for over 70 internationals . his country and, yes, it is good that he is fit and involved.

LS: Forty, fifty, sixty. In terms of internationalities, how much experience do you have in your team?

Scotland suffered defeat in their second Nations League group match in Ireland
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John McGinn, Callum McGregor, Stuart Armstrong, Craig Gordon and Andy Robertson have more than 50 caps for Scotland.

Clarke: “That’s what we’ve been working on. Probably about four years ago I decided that was the way I was going to try to build a team. They have a lot more international caps; the more international they are, the more experience they have. At international level, they have the benefit of tournament experience, even though they have experience in Covid tournaments, but they understand the format with the three games in a very short space of time. “Getting into this tournament means that. we can create a bit of history for Scottish football this summer.”

LS: What do you think of the three teams we will face?

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Ilkay Gundogan’s Germany is Scotland’s first rival at Euro 2024

Clarke: “They are all good, but I hope we can be as good as them. In Germany, everyone keeps talking bad, but for the life of me, I don’t see it. I see the team, the players and their last two performances in the friendlies of March, and it looks like they are going to peak at the right time for their home tournament, so it will be a good start. Switzerland is a permanent qualifier and normally when they reach the group stage they get out of the group and get to Hungary. the knockout phases. I feel a bit like us, they play with a similar system. They are probably a country that is on the rise and are also ranked above us in the world rankings, if that counts for anything at the moment, “So we go there as the fourth ranked team in the group, but we are able to give a good impression of ourselves.”

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Kris Boyd talks about how Scotland will approach their Euro 2024 opener against Germany and believes the team is not in the tournament just to make up the numbers.

LS: Do you think Scottish fans’ expectations have increased and is that a compliment?

Clarke: “Hopefully the expectations have increased because otherwise you won’t get better. I feel like we’ve improved in the last five years. It would be nice to show that in the summer.”

Key dates for Scotland

Monday June 3: Warm-up for Euro 2024, Gibraltar vs Scotland at the Algarve Stadium, Portugal; start at 5 pm

Friday June 7: Warm-up for Euro 2024, Scotland vs Finland at Hampden Park, Glasgow; start 7:45 p.m.

Friday June 7: The final squad of 26 players will be sent to UEFA at 11:00 p.m.

Saturday June 8: Final 26-player team announced

Sunday June 9: The Scottish team flies to base camp in the Bavarian town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Scotland Euro 2024 schedule

Scotland

Scotland have history in starting tournaments, having faced Brazil in the first match of the 1998 World Cup, a match they narrowly lost 2-1 with a Tom Boyd own goal in the second half.

This time the venue is the Munich Football Arena (Allianz Arena), where Steve Clarke’s team opens the opening match of Euro 2024 against the hosts. Germany in June 14th.

Scotland will also face matches against the eternal qualifiers Swiss in Cologne on 19th of Junewith Hungary – who reached the knockout stage in 2016 – awaits in Stuttgart the June 23.

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