Carver: Clarke has ‘very difficult’ task to pick Scotland team

The national team coach says there's tough competition for places in the starting side.

Carver: Clarke has ‘very difficult’ task to pick Scotland team SNS Group

Scotland coach John Carver admits he isn’t envious of manager Steve Clarke’s task to choose a team to face Czech Republic.

The national team make their bow at Euro 2020 on Monday when they take on the Czechs at Hampden and are in the final days of preparation for the historic match.

Carver and the rest of the coaching team have been putting the players through their paces but also trying to identify the right side to get off to a good start in Group D before the challenges of playing England and Croatia. The coach said he was happy to be part of the discussion but was glad the final call wasn’t down to him.

“What’s going to be tough is that we have a squad of 26,” he said. “This is why Steve’s the manager because he has to pick 11 from the 26 and that’s going to be very, very difficult.

“I know already we’ve had some sleepless nights and it’s going to be difficult picking the 11. But we’re in good shape and ready to go.

“I’m not going to tell you if we’ve picked the team but we’ve had a few discussions. What I will tell you is that the manager has said to the group that people will get opportunities. You don’t know whether it’s because of injury or because he wants to rotate.

“That’s the good thing about this group of players. Since I arrived in September we’ve had five camps and the quality of the group has got better and better, and the standards have got higher and higher.”

The Geordie joined Clarke’s backroom team in August of last year after Alex Dyer stepped down, and Carver said that his short time in the job had provided a real high point in a long coaching career, with a memorable moment still to come when Scotland kick off on Monday.

“I’m so excited,” he said. “First of all, when Steve asked me to join the national team, I couldn’t wait to get in the car and get up to Scotland.

“But to actually achieve something that Scotland hasn’t done for so long, and be part of it, makes me proud. Proud to be, yes I am an Englishman, but I’m a proud Scotsman as well.

“It’s something that doesn’t come around that often in your career, but it has now and we’re here.

“When you’re walking around the place and you walk past the training ground and you see Euro 2020 on the side of the coaches, and the big Scotland flag up at the front of the hotel, you know you’re ready.

“After last night we had a fantastic opening game and you know you’re ready to go. We’ve got another couple of days to go but it’s something that I’ll definitely be proud of and I’m looking forward to.”

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