John Carver: Every Scotland player will get a chance to impress

Carver says the pre-tournament friendlies are vitally important for Euros preparation.

Scotland coach John Carver says every player will be given a chance to impress the coaching team before a final decision is made on the 26-man squad for Germany.

Head coach Steve Clarke has called together a provisional 28-man group for the training camp ahead of Euro 2024, with two players to be cut from the squad a week before the opening match against Germany.

That decision was taken because there are a number of players in the group who are returning from injury or short on recent game time. But the knowledge that two players from the squad who began training today will not be on the flight to the finals means speculation has already begun about who might drop out.

Carver said that everyone will have the opportunity to show what they can bring to the team and also said that the intention is to give as many people as possible some game time in the upcoming friendlies.

Scotland travel to Portugal to play Gibraltar next Monday before returning to Glasgow for a send-off game against Finland at Hampden on June 7. The final squad is to be submitted just after that second match.

“We’ve got actually two games before we go out to Germany, so they’re going to be very important,” Carver said.

“Players are going to get time on the grass and on the pitch and it’s an opportunity for them to stake a claim.

“If it was me, I’d be so determined to make sure that I turned up when there was two games and performed well.

“There’s an opportunity still there, because we haven’t made a final decision. Everybody has an opportunity. Let’s see where it takes them.

“I think the majority of the group will play in the two games. That’s what we spoke about because it’s about giving them some game time as well.

“And obviously we’ve got one or two lads in there that we need to see play as well and prove their fitness.”

Of the group of players who are returning from injury, several trained separately from the rest of the squad though Stuart Armstrong and John Souttar did join the main group for some work. Carver is confident there are no major issues and that players will be looking to show the manager that they are physically ready and can be taken to Germany.

“They just get a little bit more time, a couple of lads,” he said. “Stuart Armstrong and Souttar did a little bit of work when we finished.

“So we’re delighted with everybody who’s turned up in good condition and we’re quite happy with their progress.

“Stuart and Souttar both trained after us, looked really good, looked like there were no issues.

“Obviously Ben and Scott McTominay did their own stuff, but hopefully by the time we get to at least the second game, we’re hoping that everybody’s going to be in condition, before Steve obviously makes that decision after the Finland game.”

Looking ahead to the finals, Carver feels that Scotland are in a better place than at the last Euros, with players and staff all having learned form the experience three years ago.

The coach said that one lesson he had personally taken from being at a major finals was on emphasising a ‘three game’ approach to the group stage and not letting the focus fall on one fixture. At Euro 2020, the Wembley clash with England dominated pre-tournament talk and now all eyes are on the opener against Germany at the Allianz Arena.

“You have to make sure that when you are planning, you plan for all three games and don’t just think about one game,” he said.

“Normally managers and coaches say ‘We’ll just take one game at a time’ but in a tournament where the games come thick and fast, you’re always planning because you don’t know what the scenario is after that first game or second game.

“Last time, everybody was talking about the second game against England before we played the first game. For obvious reasons.

“I wasn’t but there was a lot of talk around the place.

“I can help control that by saying it’s about what happens over the three games. We can try and feed that into the players.”

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