Scotland forced to choose Euro 2020 base in England as rivals nab usual facilities
Scotland have been forced to head to the north of England to prepare for Euro 2020 after group rivals Czech Republic and Croatia beat them to manager Steve Clarke’s preferred local options.
It’s the only time Clarke will hope to be outmanoeuvred by teams they will be up against in Group D when Scotland’s major finals exile ends this summer.
Clarke sought to accentuate the positive by reasoning that being removed from the high excitement building at home could be a blessing.
The Scots secured their berth at the finals only belatedly after beating Serbia in a penalty shootout in their play-off final in November. Czech Republic, who Scotland face at Hampden in their first group game on June 14, had already booked the Oriam performance centre, which the Scottish Football Association now use as a training facility before games.
Croatia, who Scotland face at Hampden on June 22, have also secured St Andrews University sports grounds, which would have been Clarke’s second choice. Like Czech Republic, the Croatians reached Euro 2020 over a year ago after coming through group qualification. It means Scotland will at least have a slightly shorter journey when they head to Wembley to face England in their other group game.
“We will try to get all the plans done and dusted before March so that we can concentrate on the (World Cup) qualifiers,” revealed Clarke this week. “We are a long way down the road in getting a training base. We are pretty much certain that we will be based in the north of England. So we are leaving Scotland to prepare.
“We haven’t got Oriam, which is our base. The Czech Republic had first crack at it and decided to use that facility. The Croatians have taken St Andrews which would have been a good facility for us.
‘We looked at what else was around in Scotland and thought about the fact I want to be in a good camp where we can focus. We want to be the first Scotland team to get to the knock-out stage of a major tournament. It’s just going away a little bit further, a little bit more isolated will give us that opportunity to prepare properly."
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