Spanish trip has helped young team bond – Stark
Scotland Under-21 manager Billy Stark believes their six-day Spanish training camp has helped his new-look squad gel.
Stark’s side lost 2-0 to the United States on Friday before a 2-0 win over Canada, with goals from Dundee United’s Stuart Armstrong and Celtic’s Tony Watt, saw the Marbella camp end on a high note.
“There’s a whole process in building a team,” Stark told www.scottishfa.co.uk. “We get a new group of players every two years and, with that, you are pretty much starting from scratch.
“It will take in the region of six months with a number of training camps and matches before you get the message through to the players about the disciplines we are looking for and the way we want to play. There are no shortcuts.
“We’ve had a few training sessions together and some good meetings with the players.
“We played two friendly matches against good opposition as part of the get together, with a 50 per cent record, which is fine for our first meeting.
“The good thing about having two games in three days is that there was an opportunity to correct things that we didn’t do so well in the next game and the players did that. I think overall it’s been a very good exercise for us.”
One of the few negatives of the camp was the fractured foot suffered by Aberdeen’s Ryan Jack against the USA.
Jack captained the team in the game but is now expected to be out until January.
“Hopefully he can bounce back in the next few months,” Stark added.
The squad featured nine uncapped players at under-21 level and Stark hopes Jack and Armstrong, who both played regularly in the recently-completed European Championship campaign, can lead from the front in the new group.
“Ryan and Stuart are guys you would put your house on in terms of conducting themselves properly and helping to get the right message through to the other boys,” Stark added.
“I know what they are capable of as players, as they were heavily involved in the last under-21 campaign, and I hope their approach to international football can rub off on the others.”
Scotland play Portugal in a friendly next month and Stark added: “Portugal will present us with another tough test.
“Some other players might get a wee shot in this match and we have some other difficult friendly matches lined up in the new year.
“Hopefully, by the time the competitive fixtures come round, we’ll be in a good position and the team will be aware of just how tough international football is at this level.”
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