BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Former Hearts player and assistant manager Edgaras Jankauskas is determined to revitalise Lithuanian football after being named the new national boss of Scotland’s World Cup rivals.
The 40-year-old, who won the Champions League with Jose Mourinho’s Porto in 2004, has been named as Igoris Pankratjevas’ successor following coaching spells with Lokomotiv Moscow and FK Trakai.
Jankauskas will be back on Scottish soil during qualification for Russia 2018 after Gordon Strachan’s men were drawn in the same group as Lithuania, as well as England, Slovakia, Slovenia and Malta.
And Jankauskas acknowledges that he faces a challenge to improve the game in his homeland, from grass-roots to senior level.
He said: “We can only see the final results of the national team, but it is coming from the way we develop young players. They lack the simplest techniques and basics.
“I don’t want to criticise coaches, because I’m not familiar with their methods, but something is not working properly. I will try to combine my experiences from around the world with a desire to help football in this country.
“In particular, we need to raise the standard of youth development and the qualifications of coaches.
“If we can combine that with inviting experts from other countries to share experiences the hopefully, step-by-step we can progress towards success.”
Former CSKA Moscow, Real Sociedad and Benfica striker Jankauskas has taken the reins at Lithuania despite a crisis at the FA following allegations of embezzlement.
Jankauskas told lrt.lt: “Players come here to prepare for the game and represent their country honestly.
“I know the talk from the press, television and public will reach the players but it should not negatively affect them. Our work is done on the pitch.”