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Scotland boss Steve Clarke responds to Steven Gerrard criticism

Gerrard accused Scotland’s coaching team of being careless with Jack’s fitness last month.

Scotland received criticism over their handling of the fitness of Ryan Jack (Ian Rutherford/PA)
Scotland received criticism over their handling of the fitness of Ryan Jack (Ian Rutherford/PA)

By Euan Parsons, PA

Steve Clarke admitted Scotland must improve their communication as he addressed criticism from Rangers manager Steven Gerrard over the national team’s handling of midfielder Ryan Jack.

Gerrard accused Scotland’s coaching team of being careless with Jack’s fitness after he aggravated an ongoing knee issue whilst with Clarke’s squad during the last international break and subsequently missed a game for his club.

Jack had played in Rangers’ 2-0 defeat to Old Firm rivals Celtic shortly before joining up with Scotland, and the Gers manager felt his player had been overworked after doing a double session just two days later.

Manager Clarke, who said he was not aware Rangers were managing a knee situation with Jack at the time, accepted Scotland’s communication could have been better and hopes a similar situation never arises again.

Speaking at a press conference after announcing his squad for the European Championship qualifiers against Russia and San Marino, Clarke said: “For me, with me, my staff and the player, it was probably a lack of communication.

“So we have to work on that, we have to be better on that in the future – and hopefully we will be.

“I think within our staff we have to make sure that we address all these issues and hopefully it won’t happen again.

“I haven’t spoken to Steven. Steven said what he had to say in the press and obviously I’ll speak to Ryan when we meet up in camp.”

Jack is back in the Scotland fold after being named in a 25-man squad which includes uncapped Sheffield United midfielder John Fleck and Dundee United striker Lawrence Shankland.

Clarke understood Gerrard’s frustration but said he would have preferred the matter to have been dealt with in private.

He added: “I understand Steven’s point of view because when you send a player off to international football and he comes back injured you’re obviously going to be upset.

“Ryan picked up the injury and he missed a Rangers game. Thankfully he’s back now, he’s playing well and he deserves his selection again.”

When asked if he thinks the situation should have been dealt with differently, Clarke said: “It would have been better if it had been dealt with privately.”

PA

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