Sport Soccer

Tuesday 24 April 2018

McClair handed SFA role

Brian McClair is taking up a key role in Scottish football
Brian McClair is taking up a key role in Scottish football

Former Scotland striker Brian McClair is leaving Manchester United to become the Scottish Football Association's performance director.

The 51-year-old will succeed Mark Wotte from June 1 after ending a 25-year spell at Old Trafford that culminated in his current role as director of the youth academy.

An SFA statement read: "He was identified unanimously as preferred candidate during a recruitment process which involved the current Scotland national coach, Gordon Strachan, previous national coaches Walter Smith and Andy Roxburgh, as well as the Scottish FA's chief executive, Stewart Regan."

McClair will take on responsibility for implementing the SFA's performance strategy, which is designed to improve the development of elite players. The governing body wants most of the Scotland team to have emerged from its performance programme by 2020.

However Wotte, who quit in October 2014 just over three years into the long-term project, recently warned that Scottish football risked going backwards unless more youth coaches focused on developing individuals rather than winning.

The Dutchman encountered some opposition to his methods and approach but McClair arrives with a strong reputation in Scotland.

The former Motherwell and Celtic striker, who won 30 international caps, has worked for United for the last 13 years after rejoining the club in a coaching role.

McClair, who will assume control of seven regional performance schools, said: "I am extremely proud to have been given the responsibility to help Scottish football move forward as performance director of the Scottish FA.

"I am sure my experiences can be of benefit to Scottish football and having spent the majority of the last 30 years in England with Manchester United I am looking forward to coming home, working with the coaching team at the Scottish FA and the clubs, and sharing the knowledge I have built up in that time to take on this new, exciting challenge."

Regan added: "The process of identifying a new performance director was thorough and hugely uplifting when we considered the quality of candidates.

"Brian very quickly became a stand-out with his blend of experiences not just from his trophy-laden career as a player at Manchester United, and his international contribution, but the depth of his coaching experiences with one of the biggest and most successful teams in the world.

"He has been at the cutting edge of coaching evolution, analysis and performance management at Manchester United and the recruitment panel were convinced he was the ideal person to lead the performance strategy into an exciting new era, enhancing the current provision while demonstrating the benefits of the investment so far to the future of Scottish football.

"I would like to thank Gordon, Walter and Andy for their invaluable input."

Manchester United's executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, paid tribute to a player who was an instant hit at Old Trafford after becoming the first United player in 20 years to hit 20 league goals in a season.

He said: "Brian's association with Manchester United started in 1987 and, regardless of where he is located, he will always be part of the family.

"As a proud Scotsman, this is a wonderful opportunity for him and he goes with our blessing and our good wishes for the future.

"In his time as academy manager, he has maintained and enhanced its reputation around the world and made a valuable contribution to the club's success."

Press Association

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