Scottish FA's Mark Wotte sets 2020 target for schools

Mark Wotte and Craig Levein

Performance director Mark Wotte says 2020 will determine whether the Scottish FA's regional performance school project is a success.

Wotte, who says it is the first of its kind in the world, launched the scheme along with Scotland coach Craig Levein.

Its aim is to to produce talented players for the future.

"Look at the Olympics and you see Sir Chris Hoy and his performance director talking about how they started 15 years ago," said Wotte.

"That puts everything in perspective.

"We have to make sure that after 2020, there's a pipeline of very good football players coming into the national team."

Seven schools across Scotland are participating in the initial four-year project to try and develop elite talent. They will house the most promising young footballers in their area.

SFA performance coaches will provide specialist football training for the youngsters mixed with their general education during their school week.

Craig Levein and Mark Wotte launch the SFA's regional performance school project
The SFA hope to produce "a pipeline" of footballers

"There is no scheme in the world like the performance schools," added Wotte.

"I'll only be pleased in 2020 when we see the result of this performance project.

"I'm very pleased with the support from a lot of people and a lot of bodies in Scotland; the Scottish FA, the board but also the clubs. You cannot do it only as an FA.

"We're starting at the bottom of the pyramid. There's a performance pyramid, there's the elite player pathway. The clubs have to do the top end.

"We're creating 400-500 very well educated football players but then the clubs have to put them in first team football and have to tweak the final part of their elite player development.

"First of all, I want to produce football players that can control the ball, that are masters over the ball with quick feet, quick eyes, quick awareness and quick decisions then we can educate them for the modern game of football.

"But at the top end, the psychology of the player is very, very important."