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Ricky Sbragia named new Scotland under-21 coach

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Former Sunderland manager Ricky Sbragia has been announced as the new Scotland under-21 head coach. 

The 59-year-old was previously coach of the under-19 team and will be assisted by former Hearts and Hibs coach Donald Park.

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

"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."

Sbragia's coaching career has spanned roles at Manchester United (reserve-team coach), Bolton Wanderers (first-team coach) and Sunderland (youth, reserve and first-team coach).

Scot Gemmill, who took Scotland under-17s to back-to-back European Championship finals, will take over the management of the under-19 team.

"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," Scottish FA Performance Director Brian McLair said.

"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."

Scotland under-21s start their European Championship qualifying campaign away to Northern Ireland on 5th September, and will host France and Iceland at Pittodrie Stadium in October.

The under-19 squad start their upcoming qualifying campaign in November. 

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