SFA’s Wotte identifies youth development as answer to Scotland’s problems

Scottish Football Association performance director Mark Wotte feels it is time to really develop the country’s youth program in order to solve their major tournament woes.

Scottish Football Association performance director Mark Wotte feels it is time to really develop the country’s youth program in order to solve their major tournament woes.

Scotland have not qualified for the World Cup or European Championships since France 1998 and after a failed 2014 Brazil qualifying campaign, Wotte says the time is right to change the outlook.

"Fifteen years have passed since we last qualified for a major tournament. It is too long for a country with such a proud history and such a passionate support,” he wrote on the SFA’s official website.

"But we have two options: we either wallow in self-pity, or we address the reasons behind that decline. We have to change our philosophy and our approach to elite talent identification and development.

"To borrow the wisdom of Einstein: insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

"The reality is that in the time since Scotland opened France 98 against Brazil, many nations across the continent have evolved at a rate superior to our own, both physically and technically.

"We have little alternative but to accept that inconvenient truth and do something about it.

"The recent successes of Germany, Spain, Holland and now Belgium have happened by design. Through the Scottish FA's performance programme, we aim to implement and execute our own plan to create a more prosperous future for the game, with more skilful and dynamic footballers.

"It will take time but crucially, the process is under way. Twelve years ago, Belgium did likewise and now have a generation of top-class players excelling in the top leagues in the world.

"Spain, once derided as perennial underachievers, have taken world football to a new level of performance. Recently, we also provided a mid-term report for our seven regional performance schools, where 120 of the country's most talented players enjoy a football education as part of the curriculum.

"More time dedicated to individual skills development will only make you a better player. The first-year intake are 12-years-old. In eight years' time, they should be established players at their clubs and the best should form part of the national team."

 
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