Scotland: Gary Caldwell applies for national team head coach role

Gary Caldwell
Gary Caldwell has applied for the Scotland job.

Gary Caldwell has applied to become Scotland manager and has spoken with Scottish FA chief executive Stewart Regan.

The former Scotland defender, who has managed Wigan and Chesterfield, says he can succeed in the role.

"If I didn't believe I could make an impact then I wouldn't put myself forward," he told BBC Scotland.

"I don't think that having vast experience is going to give you that much of a difference."

Caldwell was speaking before a scheduled SFA board meeting on Thursday at which the vacancy will be discussed.

"International football in the past used to be that somebody had a career [in management] and it was one of their later jobs," he said.

"Nowadays, it's a job for younger people. A new, fresher approach is going to give you more benefit."

Gary Caldwell & Gordon Strachan
Gary Caldwell hopes to follow Gordon Strachan as the next Scotland manager

Scotland have remained without a head coach since Gordon Strachan left the role "by mutual consent" in October.

The SFA identified Michael O'Neill as its preferred target, but the Northern Irishman elected to extend his contract with the Irish FA.

Caldwell, who has also spoken to SFA vice-chairman Rod Petrie, is hopeful that his credentials will be assessed by the governing body.

"I have spoken to Stewart Regan," he continued. "I've spoken to Rod Petrie and other people. Hopefully my name will come up at the meeting.

"I only want the job because I feel I can make a difference. A club job is different. You want a job because you want to work.

"The international job, I feel that I can make a difference. Not just as the manager.

"I want to contribute in whatever way I can to get to get this country to a major finals."

Scotland Gary Caldwell
Gary Caldwell celebrates scoring the winner against France in 2006

Caldwell earned 55 caps for Scotland and scored the winner in a 1-0 European Championship qualifying victory over France at Hampden.

He insists his experience of playing for the national side stands him in good stead to succeed Strachan.

"The pinnacle of my career was playing for my country," he explained. "I understand the psychology of international players. I understand international football, the tactics, the approach that you have to have to games both offensively and defensively.

"With my experience at international level, I can work with these players and bring something different that's going to help us get to major finals.

"I have a lot to offer. A young person with different ideas to take the country forward. We need to have a new approach."

Caldwell replaced current Scotland performance director Malky Mackay as manager at Wigan Athletic near the end of the 2014-15 season with the club eight points adrift from safety in the English Championship.

He was unable to prevent relegation but won the League One title in his first full season in charge to gain promotion.

Wigan Gary Caldwell
Caldwell led Wigan to the League One title in his first full season in charge

The former Celtic and Hibernian centre-half was subsequently sacked in October 2016 after just two wins from 14 league games.

His next job was with Chesterfield, where he lasted eight months. Caldwell believes those experiences are a positive.

"In club football, there is a real short-term approach where nobody is getting the time," he added.

"Better managers than me have been sacked when they probably shouldn't have been. It's a positive that I have that experience behind me at 35 years old.

"I also believe that I'm more qualified to be Scotland manager than I am to manage those teams. I have more experience dealing with international players.

"We have to go into the fine details because the margins at that level are becoming smaller and smaller.

"If we get everything right in terms of the preparation then I believe that we've got a group of players that can qualify."

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