The Scottish FA have announced Ricky Sbragia as the new Scotland Under-21 head coach, after being promoted from his previous role as coach of the Under-19 squad.
The former Sunderland head coach, speaking after the announcement, said: “I am very proud to have been offered the position of Scotland Under-21 head coach. 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.”
Scottish FA Performance Director Brian McClair, commenting on Sbragia’s appointment, added: “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.
“I am also pleased to confirm Scot as the coach of our under-19 squad after two excellent European Championship campaigns which saw us reach successive finals.
“It is important that as well as being an educational experience for our country’s most talented young players, it should also be an enjoyable and enriching experience for them as people, too.
“I believe there should be a fluidity to our coaching structure, so that our young players can become familiar with the values and principles that we live by from the youngest age group to the senior national team as they make their football journey.
“Having set out to speak to as many people in the game as possible during my first weeks in the job, I have been greatly encouraged by the enthusiasm and sense of common purpose shared by our member clubs to make the national game better. I am confident that today’s appointments will be a positive step in that direction.”
Sbragia, will be assisted by former Hibs and Hearts coach Donald Park, who will continue his role as Head of Coach Education at the Scottish FA.
Scotland kick off their European Under-21 Championship qualification campaign with an away trip to Northern Ireland next month, before playing host to France and Iceland in October at Pittodrie.
Under-17 head coach Scot Gemmill will take over Sbragia’s Under-19 head coach role.