Brown: Scots would have at least matched England
CRAIG Brown claims Scotland would have progressed at least as far as England at the World Cup if they had qualified for the tournament this summer.
But the former Scotland manager says England’s failure to live up to expectations and at least qualify for the quarter-final stage had nothing to do with lack of quality.
The veteran boss believes boredom and depression - and ultimately not having an Englishman at the helm - were contributing factors in their early return from South Africa.
Brown - the last manager to take the Scots to a major finals - said: “Having seen the England games, I believe had Scotland been there, we would have done at least as well with the team we have at the moment and the manager we have.
“England under-achieved with the quality of players they’ve got. The reasons for that are difficult to determine.
“I was working for Al-Jazeera in Qatar and the staff there were all very close to the England camp, guys like David Platt, Tim Sherwood, Ray Wilkins, Sam Allardyce and Trevor Francis and I think the players were quite constrained.
“They were put in their rooms in the afternoon to watch television or to have a rest, which is an Italian method of operating. They were in single rooms and I think they were a bit bored and depressed.
“It’s not a magic formula to say pair them in rooms and give them some free time in the afternoon - that’s too simple.
“But I worked with Alex Ferguson in Mexico at the World Cup and Alex was at pains to ensure there was good camaraderie and activities for the players.”
Scotland briefly flirted with the idea of a foreign coach but quickly returned to home-grown managers following Berti Vogts’ ill-fated spell in charge - a system every national team should stick to, according to Brown.
“There is a different psyche between an Italian player and an English player,” he said.
“I genuinely think the coach of the national team should have the same nationality as the players.
“That’s not the rule so it doesn’t happen but it would be logical that the England team has an English coach. The English coach knows the psyche of the English players better than a foreign coach.”