Scotland: Anna Signeul urges players to fight for Euro 2017 places

Scotland head coach Anna Signeul
Signeul, from Sweden, has been in charge of the Scots since 2005

Head coach Anna Signeul has urged Scotland's women to play for squad places at this summer's Euro 2017 finals in the Netherlands.

A group of 23 will travel to Cyprus next week for a training camp.

Signeul will use two friendlies against Denmark in Cyprus to begin the process of identifying her strongest team.

"We have 23 players and it's not said that they must be the ones we go to Holland with," said Signeul, who has extended her contract until August.

"We're very open-minded. We can take a lot from these games."

Signeul has recalled Rachel Corsie of Seattle Reign and Kim Little, who recently rejoined Arsenal, after both recovered from injury.

Scotland Women's international challenge matches in Cyprus
Denmark v Scotland, Friday, 20 January, kick-off 13:00 GMT, GSZ Stadium, Larnaca
Denmark v Scotland, Monday, 23 January, kick-off 09:00 GMT, Paralimni Municipality Stadium

She plans to use her full squad across the two games with Denmark, but also to assess where the team stands against their fellow finalists.

Scotland, making a major tournament debut, have been drawn in Group D alongside England, Portugal and Spain and Signeul is targeting a place in the quarter-finals.

"We have a long-list of 35 players and we're going to work with a squad of 23 players in the spring for all the games we have," she added.

"That is three goalkeepers and then two for every position. We will try to find the best starting XI and try to give as many players as possible the chance to show that they should be in the squad for the Euros.

"These are official games and it's always important with results, not just in terms of rankings but self-confidence.

"We're going to try to win both these games, that's the main focus, but also to let as many players play as possible.

"Denmark are a very good side, so we will be tested. That's great, because we get an early [indication] of where we are for the moment."

Scotland lost 7-0 to Netherlands in an October friendly
Scotland's last outing was a 7-0 friendly loss to Euro 2017 hosts the Netherlands in October

Most members of the Scotland squad are professionals but Signeul hopes those who still have jobs outside football will receive support from their employers and the government to allow them to prepare for the finals in July and be able to take part in all of the training sessions and friendlies during the build-up.

She also revealed that one of the first tasks undertaken by the new performance director, Malky Mackay, was to meet with the players and the coaching staff.

"We had a meeting just before Christmas, Malky came and introduced himself and met with the players and players' leadership group," Signeul said.

"It was a good first meeting, so I'm looking forward to working together with Malky, as are all of the team."