Ex-Sunderland boss appointed new Scotland Under 21 head coach

Ex-Sunderland boss Ricky Sbragia is the new Scotland Under 21 manager
Ex-Sunderland boss Ricky Sbragia is the new Scotland Under 21 manager
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Former Sunderland manager Ricky Sbragia has been appointed the new Scotland Under 21 head coach.

Sbragia has been promoted from his role with the Under 19 squad and the 59-year-old has spoken of his pride.

His coaching career has spanned roles at Manchester United (reserve-team coach), Bolton Wanderers (first-team coach) and Sunderland with the youth and reserve teams and a spell in charge of the first team in 2008-09 after the resignation of Roy Keane.

“I am very proud to have been offered the position of Scotland Under-21 head coach,” said Sbragia.

“I am acutely aware of the importance of the job in what for many young professionals should be the final stage before entering the full international team.

“The primary responsibility is to help prepare players to make that leap to Gordon Strachan’s A squad but it is also important that we work hard to ensure we are ready to make an impact in the forthcoming European Championship qualifiers which start in September.

“With the help and support of our senior clubs, it is my ambition to help our most talented young players excel at the highest level of international age-group football which, in turn, can only aid their development at their respective clubs.”

New performance director Brian McClair said: “Ricky has built up a wealth of knowledge and experience at the highest levels of coaching and the under-21s will now benefit greatly from that.”

Scotland open their UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualification campaign away to Northern Ireland on 5th September before hosting France and Iceland at Pittodrie Stadium in a home double-header in October.