Former Scotland boss distances himself from Hibs post

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Gordon Strachan admits he is more interested in trying to help Scotland produce their own Gareth Bale than a return to club management after being linked with Hibs.

The former Scotland, Celtic and Southampton boss has been mentioned as a potential successor to Neil Lennon at Easter Road, with the Northern Irishman’s departure being confirmed on Wednesday.

Boyhood Hibs fan Strachan, who stepped down as national team manager in October 2017, insists he has dedicated himself to youth football and is desperate to help create top players that can help the country get back competing at major finals.

Photo by Paul Chappells

However, Strachan, who is also the Patron of The Spartans Community Football Academy in Edinburgh, concedes he has not completely ruled out a return to the dugout.

He said: “At the minute, I want to be involved with young players. For the last 15 years, I’ve been obsessed with youth football, particularly in Scotland. 

“Wales have Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey, Poland have Robert Lewandowski. We have to start producing our own stars.

“So, since I left the Scotland job, I’ve been speaking to people in the game about my ideas, and visiting different academies around the world.

“Not just to copy, but to learn what problems they have. To see what new techniques are working, and which old ones still work, too.

“So, management isn’t on my agenda right now. But if something came along to give me full scope to do what I’m talking about with youth football, and to manage, then who knows?

“You never say no to any job. I’m only 61, I can still coach, and run about, no problem. I just don’t want to take a job for the sake of it. I want to take a job I love.

“At the moment, what makes me tick is youth football and creating top players.

“And you can bet I’ll be pushing them – because, to get to the top, you have to be pushed.

“Oh, and if anyone sees me in Edinburgh on Thursday, I’m there to talk about my youth football ideas with the government and local councils and so on – not interviewing for the Hibs job. I’m staying with my mother for a few days, not heading for a job interview.”

Lennon was suspended following a heated team meeting last Friday that apparently saw striker Flo Kamberi take exception to criticism.

The statement confirming his departure on Wednesday absolved the former Celtic boss of any blame.

Criticism

Strachan, who managed Lennon at Celtic, insists the 47-year-old’s management techniques are no different to those used at the top of the game.

He said: “I thought footballers want to be told the truth. You’re always hearing them say, I just want my manager to be straight with me.

“You give modern day players the truth and they crumble. What they actually want is a nice truth.

“I watched (Liverpool manager) Jurgen Klopp training in Dortmund, and saw him speaking in more than a loud voice to superstars. 

“It was the same for me in my career with (former Manchester United boss) Sir Alex Ferguson  – he pushed us to new levels and got the best out of us.

“When I was Scotland manager, we played Italy in Malta, and it was 0-0 at half time. 

“Myself, Mark McGhee and Stuart McCall were trying to give a plan for the second half, but we couldn’t speak for the noise coming from next door.

“We looked outside and you saw all the Italian coaches and subs stood there, waiting, while the 11 players who had been on the pitch sat inside while (Italy boss) Antonio Conte raged at them.

“So if they can deal with it, and Klopp’s players, there should be even more justification for Neil Lennon shouting at his players, because these players need pushing.

“World Class players deal with it, so why not players who play for Hibs? 

“I think it’s only a problem if the players themselves aren’t playing well, or if the team is losing.”

 Gordon Strachan was speaking exclusively to Paddy Power News. To read more, visit news.paddypower.com

 
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