The Scotsman

Gem­mill: Great if my squad is de­pleted by se­nior call-ups

● Coach stresses pri­or­ity is player devel­op­ment in un­der-21 set-up

- By ANDY NEW­PORT Sports · Soccer · Championship · Vilnius · Scotland · Israel · Slovakia · Czech Republic · Lithuania · Steve Clarke

LITHUA­NIA U21 V SCOT­LAND U21

Euro­pean U21 Cham­pi­onship qual­i­fier

Vil­ni­aus Sta­dium, Vil­nius

To­day, 4:30pm Up­dates BBC Ra­dio Scot­land

S cot Gem­mill will gladly see his Scot­land un­der -21 squad de­pleted next month if Steve Clarke comes calling.

The Scot­land se­nior team has three home games in a week in Oc­to­ber start­ing with the play­off semi-fi­nal against Is­rael on the 8th be­fore Na­tions League matches against Slo­vakia and Czech Repub­lic.

To that end, Clarke re­vealed he will name an ex­panded squad and Gem­mill be­lieves that could give ex­tra in­cen­tive to his play­ers in tonight’s Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship qual­i­fier away to Lithua­nia, al­though any pro­mo­tions to the A squad could leave the un­der-21s short for their match against Czech Repub­lic on 10 Oc­to­ber.

On the pos­si­bil­ity of play­ers be­ing called up by Clarke, Gem­mill said: “You might fol­low that up by say­ing would that af­fect the un­der-21 squad.

“I hop e it do es. That is the ob­jec­tive, to help th­ese play­ers get that op­por­tu­nity.

“If that hap­pens, we will ob­vi­ously ad­just and it means younger play­ers get­ting the chance to come with us.

“It should be stan­dard procedure and it is great to see it is star ting to hap­pen more and more.”

Gem­mill stressed again that devel­op­ment is the pri­mary ob­jec­tive of the Scot­land un­der-21 set-up. He said: “A few peo­ple might be sur­prised to hear my com­ments, the pri­or­ity has al­ways been about the devel­op­ment of the play­ers.

“We have been lucky to qual­ify for the fi­nals at the younger age groups when I was work­ing with un­der-17s, we qual­i­fied for four straight Europe - an fi­nals and, of course, that is very im­por­tant for the play­ers to get that ex­po­sure and fur­ther ex­pe­ri­ence.

“But at the same time it doesn’ t guar­an­tee that they move on to the next level.

“It is about us giv­ing that ex­pe­ri­ence to the right play­ers. We all know that not ev­ery un­der-21 player goes on to play for the full squad.

“So it is about us try­ing to zoom in on play­ers we feel can go all the way so we are us­ing this ex­pe­ri­ence to its full po­ten­tial.”

Gem­mill in­sists a qual­i­fi­ca­tion spot re­mains up for grabs for his Scot­land un­der-21 side.

The young Scots, set to play for the first time in ten months, have eight points from five games in Group 4 with five matches re­main­ing.

The for­mer Scot­land mid­fielder said :“If you are talk­ing about qual­i­fi­ca­tion, it is all to play for.

“It is re­ally ex­cit­ing to still have that achiev­able for the group as a big mo­ti­va­tion.

“But, if you zoom in on the per­for­mance sin terms of de­vel­op­ing young play­ers, then I think there has been lots of pos­i­tives too.

“Play­ing against dif­fer­ent op­po­si­tion, play­ing against top seeds, be­ing able to show that we can be re­ally re­silient and hard­top lay against and win away from home but also play­ing against the lesser seeds and play­ing in a dif­fer­ent man­ner.”

“If you are talk­ing about qual­i­fi­ca­tion, it is all to play for. It is re­ally ex­cit­ing to still have that achiev­able for the group as a big mo­ti­va­tion”

SCOT GEM­MILL

 ??  ?? Scot Gem­mill be­lieves the an­nounce­ment by Steve Clarke that he will name an ex­panded squad for Scot­land’s hec­tic sched­ule in Oc­to­ber should give ex­tra in­cen­tive for his un­der-21 play­ers to im­press when they face Lithua­nia tonight.
Scot Gem­mill be­lieves the an­nounce­ment by Steve Clarke that he will name an ex­panded squad for Scot­land’s hec­tic sched­ule in Oc­to­ber should give ex­tra in­cen­tive for his un­der-21 play­ers to im­press when they face Lithua­nia tonight.
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