The Purbrook resident and ex-Portsmouth man aiding Scotland' Euro 2020 progress - and behind Southampton's Che Adams' international call-up

From his Purbrook home, Neil Sillett has been plotting Scotland’s Euro 2020 progress.

Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 11:56 am
Scotland's Billy Gilmour and head coach Steve Clarke embrace following the goalless draw with England. Picture: Alan Harvey/SNS Group
Scotland's Billy Gilmour and head coach Steve Clarke embrace following the goalless draw with England. Picture: Alan Harvey/SNS Group

And he’s got the 27-page scouting dossiers and the tournament presence of Che Adams to prove it.

Since Christmas, Pompey’s former head of youth recruitment and ex-Fratton Park physio has been employed as Scotland’s League Performance Scout.

As one of six stationed across England, Sillett’s responsibility focuses on the south and south-west, with ex-Pompey favourite Kevin Dillon patrolling the north-east.

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Neil Sillett, pictured here with Yakubu, has been scouting for Scotland since Christmas, including involvement in their Euro 2020 progress

It was upon Sillett’s recommendation that Southampton’s Adams was welcomed into Scotland’s squad in March, ahead of this summer’s European Championships.

While the Scots have continued to call upon his expertise to help compile opposition reports during the ongoing tournament – including last week’s England encounter.

Sillett told The News: ‘I have a patch of 17 clubs going from Plymouth up to Swansea, all the way to Brighton.

‘That covers the senior teams to the under-16s, researching who is eligible for Scotland and watching them, compiling two or three reports.

‘I recommended Che Adams for the international team prior to him getting selected, although I’m sure he was on Steve Clarke’s radar anyway.

‘In the games I saw, I thought he had a great attitude, he moved between defenders well and was a pain to mark. He’s a strong and difficult opponent.

‘To me, if you make runs in behind Tyrone Mings and John Stones they don’t always see it, which Adams did, so it has been nice seeing him do well in the national team.

‘When Scotland realised I had done the opposition for Costa Rica in the lead up for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, I was tasked with watching Croatia, England and (potential opposition) Russia.

‘Each involves a 27-page analytical report. It’s heavy duty, but we also have analysts that help us through it in terms of diagrams, so it’s a detailed dossier on the opposition.

‘I was at Wembley for England’s game against Croatia alongside Tony Spearing and an analyst, which enabled us to build a report on England. Obviously that turned out pretty well

‘It’s not down to me why Scotland do well, but you feel like you are part of it and are certainly involved, even though you are pretty distant and on the periphery.

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‘I was probably a bit more involved with Costa Rica in 2014 as I was the only one based in Europe and they drew Italy and England in the group. They then topped it.

‘And if Scotland went on to win Euro 2020, I’m sure you’d get a pat on the back and a thank you!’

Should the Scots beat Croatia (8pm) this evening, they will join England in the next round of Euro 2020.

It would also represent the first time they have reached the knock-out stages of any tournament.

And Sillett is convinced Clarke’s side can make history.

He added: ‘I thought Croatia played for a draw at Wembley and if Kovacic stays in the shape they used for the second half, England don’t score.

‘I don’t know why he did it, but, from the halfway line, he presses a ball which he has no business to do because, by the looks of it, they are not drilled to do that.

‘He goes to an England centre-half, who pops the ball in behind him to Phillips, which starts off the move for Sterling’s goal.

‘For the rest of the game, Kovacic hadn't done that. He sat next to Brozovic and they marshalled in front of the Croatian back four and had everything under control.

‘If Scotland can turn Croatia around, and make them face their own goal, they will cause them problems – and Che Adams is important for that.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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