Following Jack Harper’s recent omission from the Scotland under-19 squad,I have decided to write an article on choosing size over skill,or vice versa,in the Scottish game.Recently,Scottish football has looked to be on the on up,they have beaten teams such as Poland and Croatia since Gordon Strachan’s appointment.However,the most positive thing about the resurgence has been Scotland’s mentality,thinking back to the horrendous night of that 4-6-0 formation against Czech Republic is enough to haunt any Scotland fans dreams.Craig Levein had brought an almost poisonous,defensive approach to the national team’s footballing style but Strachan has totally changed that mentality,showing no more respect than needed to nations we would have feared a few years back.
Ricky Sbragia’s decision to drop Jack Harper from the squad caused a real stir amongst Scotland fans.A huge 89% of Scotland fans said it is the stupidest decision ever made by a Scotland coach.Sbragia described Harper as a ‘luxury player’ and wanted to be for a taller squad,with more physicality and ‘runners’.In my opinion,this is an absolutely crazy decision and statement from Sbragia and this highlights all that used to be wrong with the Scottish game.Sbragia also stated that Harper needed to work harder to be part of the squad.Scotland is a country that isn’t exactly blessed with world class players,if Harper is developed well and chooses the correct path,he could become a world class player.
Harper also has the option to play for Spain,which is extremely worrying for Scotland fans.If anyone is wondering how on earth he’d be good enough for Spain if he can’t get in the Scotland squad,consider this;just hours after hearing of Harper’s omission,Spanish national coaches were on the phone to Harper,enquiry about his availability.
In my opinion,size doesn’t matter in football,or for that matter,almost any sport.If every club and country took the same approach as Sbragia then imagine what football would be like?Geniuses well under 6ft tall such as Lionel Messi and Marco Verratti’s would have been released from their clubs at young ages and certainly wouldn’t be anywhere near their national teams.Sbragia also mentioned that he ‘hasn’t seen enough of Harper to judge him’,this is part of his job?!This means Sbragia isn’t fulfilling the responsibilities and tasks that come the job and in most jobs that is a sackable offence.