Shelley Kerr: Scotland Women 'in a good place', says head coach-in-waiting

Shelley Kerr and SFA performance director Malky Mackay
Shelley Kerr was the outstanding candidate, according to Malky Mackay

Scotland coach-in-waiting Shelley Kerr believes there has never been a better time to take over despite Tuesday's 5-0 defeat by Belgium.

The Scots, presently under Anna Signeul, were under strength because of injuries for the warm-up friendly ahead of his summer's Euro 2017 finals.

"The ranking positions we're increasing all the time and it really is in a good place," said Kerr.

"So let's see what the Euros bring for us and hopefully we can build on that."

Kerr, manager of Stirling University's men's team in the Scottish Lowland League, will inherit the national squad in June after Signeul ends her term in charge at the finals in the Netherlands.

And former Kilmarnock, Doncaster Rovers Belles, and Hibernian defender Kerr, who ended her playing career with Spartans in 2010, remains enthusiastic that Scottish women's football is heading in the right direction and the national team are currently 21st in the world rankings.

"The standard has certainly increased since I stopped playing, that's for sure," said the 47-year-old.

"They are more professional, they are better educated in terms of their whole holistic approach of becoming elite athletes and I think it's great so many of our national team players are playing in a professional environment."

Shelley Kerr and SFA performance director Malky Mackay
Kerr will be an observer at Euro 2017, according to Malky Mackay

Kerr managed women's teams at Kilmarnock, Hibs, Spartans, Scotland Under-19s and Arsenal before becoming the first woman to take control of a British senior men's team in 2014.

"The difference between female players and male players, it's the dynamics that are perhaps different, but we still have the aspirations of getting to the very, very top level, but it's all about hard work," said the Scot, whose current side lie fourth in the tier below the Scottish Professional Football League.

Kerr admitted that it would be "really challenging" to continue Scotland's rise up the world rankings but thought "it's a great time to take over" and that they were capable of progressing from a Euros group containing England, Portugal and Spain.

"It's an absolute honour, it's a privilege, I'm extremely proud," she said.

"As you can imagine, as a young kid growing up playing football, and especially as a young girl, I had dreams of representing my country and I was really fortunate to do that.

"But to actually get the opportunity to lead the women's national team is a dream come true for me."

Scottish FA performance director Malky Mackay said Kerr was the stand-out candidate to take over from Signeul, who is quitting to take over the Finnish national team.

"Anna and the team will plan for everything between now and going to the Euros and in the Euros, so Shelley will be going in a watching basis only," he explained.

"Shelley will concentrate on everything after the Euros."

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