Steve Clarke urges Scotland players to stake Euro 2020 play-off claim

Watch Cyprus vs Scotland on Saturday from 1:30pm on Sky Sports Football and Sky Sports Main Event; Scotland vs Kazakhstan is on Sky Sports Football from 7:40pm on Tuesday

Steve Clarke 2:08
Scotland manager Steve Clarke says fringe players in his squad can stake their claim to feature in next year's Euro 2020 play-off, if they impress against Cyprus and Kazakhstan

Scotland manager Steve Clarke has urged the 23 players in camp for their final European Qualifiers to stake their claim for a place for March’s Euro 2020 play-offs.

Captain Andrew Robertson, in-form Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay, Bournemouth winger Ryan Fraser and Leeds defender Liam Cooper have all been forced to pull out of the games against Cyprus and Kazakhstan through injury.

Clarke insists he has learnt to cope with withdrawals from his squads and with Scotland relying on March's play-off games to secure their place at Euro 2020, he is keen for the players still in the squad to impress him in their final Group I matches.

Live Euro 2020 Qualifiers

"When you name the squad and get the call-ups, it's frustrating but I learnt quickly in this job, you have to move on," Clarke said ahead of the two Sky Live games.

"We have 23 players here who want to be here, they want to be part of what we're doing and I concentrate on those 23.

"We've got two games before the March play-offs, so anybody who is here in camp has a great chance to catch my attention and make sure they are in the squad in March.

Former Scotland striker Kenny Miller insists Scotland can be a 'real, real threat' if they have a fully fit squad. 4:09
Former Scotland striker Kenny Miller reveals his best Scotland XI, insisting they can be a 'real, real threat' if the squad is fully fit

"We spoke after the San Marino game about trying to build on the positivity we built after that group of games, so coming into this one we will try to continue that.

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"Cyprus are a difficult opponent here, as will Kazakhstan at home. They are two games I believe we have to perform well in to take good momentum into March.

"We have a definite target in the group to finish third and the qualifying games in March give us a second opportunity to get to Euro 2020."

Live Euro 2020 Qualifiers

Clarke refused to confirm who would captain Scotland for the upcoming matches in the absence of Liverpool left-back Robertson and instead stated he is looking for a number of leaders within the group.

"I have always thought as a manager and even as a player that everybody in the dressing room should be a leader, everyone should try and take on part of the role of captain," he added.

"It's not something that should just be down to one person. You want as many leaders and positive people in the camp as you can get and that's what we are trying to build here."

Clarke also praised the harmony among players in the Scotland camp, regardless of club affiliations.

Raheem Sterling was left out of the England squad for Thursday's 7-0 win over Montenegro following an incident with Joe Gomez in the wake of Manchester City's 3-1 defeat to Liverpool, but Clarke has not had to deal with similar situations among his players.

"In any squad you want a good bunch of players who get on well with each other," said Clarke.

"You have little disagreements, they happen all the time, whether it's on or off the training ground.

"In my experience, since I have come into the squad with the Scotland squad, it's been perfect and they are a really good group of lads.

"No matter who we have picked, they always seem to mingle well and get on great which each other, which is fantastic."

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