Shelley Kerr backs calm Clarke to handle hopes of the nation

The women's team manager knows all about the pressure of qualifying for a major tournament.

Shelley Kerr backs calm Clarke to handle hopes of the nation SNS Group

Shelley Kerr is the last manager to take Scotland to a major finals – and she believes Steve Clarke has the mentality to get the nation to the Euros.

Kerr steered Scotland’s women to their first ever World Cup finals in France in 2019 and knows the pressure that comes with it.

Scotland can reach their first men’s tournament since 1998 if they beat Serbia on Thursday night.

Kerr said: “The expectation of the whole nation is on your shoulders, regardless of how you feel.

“Speaking of my own experience of taking a team to a World Cup – nothing will ever compare to it and it is such a fantastic achievement when you get there.

“I’m sure that Steve and the players are just trying to control their own narrative and ignore the hype.

“He is such a calm and composed manager that he, his staff and his players, their sole focus will be on getting over the line.

“You look at it as being potentially a historic moment but Steve won’t be thinking about that, all he’ll be thinking about is picking the right players in the right system to get the right result.”

Kerr’s women’s side are well positioned to qualify for their own upcoming edition of the European Championships while the men’s under-21 team is also in the mix to qualify for a Euros for the first time since 1996.

It makes for positive signs for the national game, but Kerr knows that the men’s top team breaking their 22-year absence from football’s top tournament table would be the most significant of all.

She said: “It all starts from the men’s team – it would give everyone a lift and generates more income which helps the other teams as well.

“Given the current climate, if the men’s team can get there there is talk of it being worth nine million Euros, which would be massive for the organisation and for Scottish football.

“I think what Steve has done has been quite remarkable, going eight unbeaten, and the whole country is rooting for them.”

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