Scotland under-21s: Ricky Sbragia not interested in replacing Stark

Ricky Sbragia
Ricky Sbragia has ruled himself out of the running for the Scotland under-21s manager's job

Ricky Sbragia has named five new faces in his first squad as interim Scotland Under-21 coach, while saying he does not want the role on a permanent basis.

Swansea City pair Jay Fulton and Adam King were among those called up by the former Sunderland manager the day after Billy Stark stood down as team boss.

Sbragia, who is national Under-19 coach, will take charge for the friendly against Switzerland in Thun.

"Not at all," he replied when asked if it was a job he wanted full-time.

"I've agreed to take this game and this is far as it goes from there."

Stark's departure closely followed the resignation of Mark Wotte as the Scottish Football Association's performance director.

But Sbragia insisted that the national body's youth system would carry on as normal.

Interim Scotland under-21 manager Ricky Sbragia
"We always knock the youth side of Scotland down, but I think it's progressing."

"It just goes on," he said. "Scot Gemmill's moved up to the 19s and I have been asked to take the 21s for the one game."

Sbragia had not anticipated Stark's departure after six years in charge and had no in-depth knowledge of the former Queen's Park manager's reasons for leaving.

"I was looking forward to doing the work for the Holland game at under-19 level and Billy's decision to leave took me much by surprise," he said.

"He has been six years here and might have felt it was time to leave and start somewhere else afresh.

"He's obviously produced a lot of teams for the A squad and, looking at the squad here, they are very young and they have come through the system at 17s and 19s and they have bridged the gap to 21s."

Sbragia does not think the departures were indicative of a failure of Scotland's youth system.

"We always knock the youth side of Scotland down, but I think it's progressing," he said.

"I do think the results at international level have been better."

Sbragia on this occasion has been denied the services of Rangers midfielder Lewis Macleod, who will join the senior squad for matches against Republic of Ireland and England.

Former Scotland under-21 boss Billy Stark
Billy Stark resigned as Scotland under-21 manager on Tuesday after six years in charge

The coach thought it was "fantastic" for the 20-year-old to be given such experience, just as Sporting Lisbon midfielder Ryan Gauld had been in Gordon Strachan's previous squad.

Gauld is back with Sbragia's squad this time along with nine players who have yet to be capped at under-21 level.

Along with the two Swansea midfielders, Liverpool goalkeeper Ryan Fulton, Norwich City midfielder Cameron King and Reading striker Harry Caldwell make their first appearance in an under-21 squad.

Two of Caldwell's club-mates - goalkeeper Jonathan Henly, who is currently on loan to Welling United, and defender Dominic Hyam - have also yet to play for the under-21s

Hearts midfielder Sam Nicholson and Aberdeen forward Declan McManus, who is on loan to Greenock Morton, are the others who will hope to make their first appearances in Thun.

The squad will use the match in Switzerland to prepare for the 2017 European Under-21 Championship qualifiers, which begin next year.

Scotland Under-21 squad

Goalkeepers: Ryan Fulton (Liverpool), Jack Hamilton (Heart of Midlothian), Jonathan Henly (Reading)

Defenders: Stuart Findlay (Celtic), Stephen Hendrie (Hamilton Academical), Dominic Hyam (Reading), Jordan McGhee (Heart of Midlothian), Callum Paterson (Heart of Midlothian)

Midfielders: Jay Fulton (Swansea City), Adam King (Swansea City), Cameron King (Norwich City), John McGinn (St Mirren), Sam Nicholson (Heart of Midlothian), Craig Slater (Kilmarnock)

Forwards: Harry Cardwell (Reading), Ryan Christie (Inverness Caledonian Thistle), Ryan Fraser (Bournemouth), Ryan Gauld (Sporting Lisbon), Declan McManus (Aberdeen).

Top Stories