Scotland Euro 2024 squad surprises played down as John Carver lifts lid on disagreements with Steve Clarke

Tartan Army eagerly anticipating Clarke’s provisional Euros squad

Scotland fans have been told to expect no major surprises when Steve Clarke names his provisional squad for Euro 2024 on Wednesday.

Clarke has opted to pick 28 players ahead of the pre-tournament training camp that will include warm-up friendlies against Gibraltar and Finland before whittling his selection down to the permitted 26 ahead of Uefa's June 7 deadline – a week before Scotland face hosts Germany in the opening match.

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The key question surrounds who Clarke has chosen at right-back with first choice pair Aaron Hickey and Nathan Patterson both ruled out of the finals due to injury while the increase in squad size from 23 to 26 has opened the door to potential wildcards.

John Carver was speaking as digital bank Chase launched a new football programme with the Scottish Football Association and the other three Home Nations, that will provide fully funded access to 2,900 introductory coaching qualifications and 85 professional coaching bursaries to support individuals from low-income backgrounds.John Carver was speaking as digital bank Chase launched a new football programme with the Scottish Football Association and the other three Home Nations, that will provide fully funded access to 2,900 introductory coaching qualifications and 85 professional coaching bursaries to support individuals from low-income backgrounds.
John Carver was speaking as digital bank Chase launched a new football programme with the Scottish Football Association and the other three Home Nations, that will provide fully funded access to 2,900 introductory coaching qualifications and 85 professional coaching bursaries to support individuals from low-income backgrounds.

"We will just have to wait and see," said assistant coach John Carver. "I don’t think there is going to be any surprises. I would be very surprised if there is a surprise if that makes sense. But we have got a group of about 40 players that we have been looking at and obviously all the staff, but particularly Steve and myself, have been out watching games, keeping our fingers crossed, hoping that players come through without any injuries.

"So we know the players, we have got all the data on every single player. Graeme Jones [SFA performance director] and his staff are in constant contact with all the different clubs to make sure that we have all the information that we need. But, again, you can have the information, but your eyes are good testers and that is why we want them on the grass and want the group of 28.”

It is understood there will be no place in the squad for any of the Scottish-qualified Newcastle contingent with Harvey Barnes, Elliot Anderson and Tino Livramento yet to pledge allegiance. Carver added: “It is an exciting time. I am sure the players cannot wait for the squad to be announced, I mean once it is announced, how proud will they be. Can they create history? This is an opportunity for them. It is going to be extremely tough. We know what the group is like and how good the teams are. We have to be really encouraged by what we have done in the qualifiers and hopefully that puts us in good stead.”

Carver revealed there have been disagreements between himself with Clarke over the make-up of the squad but insists he knows his place and is fully supportive of the manager’s decisions. "I think we disagree because that’s the type of person all you know I am!” he said. “What Steve doesn’t want is a yes man and I am certainly not a yes man. I will give my opinion and once I give my opinion it is then down to Steve to make that decision and I will back it one million per cent. It is not even an issue as far as I am concerned. We will have discussion. We will disagree, we will agree, we will change our mind from time to time but at the end of the day it is his decision and that is final. He gets my full backing.”

Scotland assistant John Carver (right) with head coach Steve Clarke. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)Scotland assistant John Carver (right) with head coach Steve Clarke. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
Scotland assistant John Carver (right) with head coach Steve Clarke. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

Carver welcomed the return to full fitness of Celtic captain Callum McGregor following a phased return from an achilles injury.

"Yes, it’s great news. He is a leader, we know what he is like. As it happens I saw him at the weekend and he looked back to his best. We have to thank Celtic for the way they have handled him. They have brought him in, gave him game time but not thrown him in at the deep end. They have been pretty cautious with him. He looked back to his best at the weekend and that has got to be a bonus."

McGregor's Celtic team-mate James Forrest has made a late case for inclusion after making a positive contribution during the title run-in following his recent return from first-team exile. "He’s had a great finish to the season," Carver said. "He scored in the semi-final of the cup and last weekend I think it was and he’s done a great job. But there are others out there who have had a good run but I am not talking about individuals because we have not named the squad yet."

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John Carver was speaking as digital bank Chase launched a new football programme with the Scottish Football Association and the other three Home Nations, that will provide fully funded access to 2,900 introductory coaching qualifications and 85 professional coaching bursaries to support individuals from low-income backgrounds.

The new funding has been announced after YouGov research revealed that the cost of qualifications is the main barrier to coaching for under resourced communities in Scotland, with 41% saying that financial support would make them more likely to continue through the coaching pathway.

For more information on the programme, visit: https://www.chase.co.uk/gb/en/chase-football-coaching-programme/

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