Steve Clarke asks Scotland players to keep him in a job until 2026 World Cup

Steve Clarke is desperate for another chance to lead Scotland to a World Cup.

The manager will be 62 by the time the next World Cup, due to be held in Canada, Mexico and the United States, kicks off.

He has charged his players with keeping him in a job long enough to finally sample a World Cup with Scotland.

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Clarke was named in the pool for Italia ‘90 by Andy Roxburgh but was one of six players excluded from the final squad.

His first attempt to reach a World Cup as manager came to an end at the play-off semi-final stage last Wednesday night when Scotland were well beaten by Ukraine at Hampden Park.

But Clarke is confident his young squad can break the cycle of failure since Scotland’s last appearance at France ’98. He just hopes he has proved successful enough to warrant still being with them.

Clarke’s current contract runs until the end of the Euro 2024 campaign and he knows failure to qualify for that tournament would reduce his chances of being offered another contract.

But he has expressed a desire to carry on longer despite previous suggestions that he would favour a return to club management before he retired.

Steve Clarke wants to take Scotland to the World Cup in 2026 after failing to qualify for Qatar 2022. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

Clarke is excited by the possibilities of a squad where the average age is in the mid-20s.

“They are at an age when they should all keep improving, they should all get better,” he said. “Then when you get to 2024 and they get to 2026 …I don’t know I might not get to ‘26, if they don’t get to ‘24.

“So I need them,” he added. “I want them to help me because I want to go to a World Cup with my country and I told them that after the game. I said to them I can’t do that unless you get me to Euro 2024. So they can help me.

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“That is serious. I would love to do it.

“It was a big ambition to go this year, it hasn’t worked,” he added. “I would love to go in 2026 but obviously results and circumstances will dictate what happens to me. But this group of players, whether they are led by me or someone else, can definitely go 2024 and 2026.

“There are actually enough in the group that are young enough to even think beyond that. I am too old to think beyond that! I’ll just think to 2026.”

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