Ex-Newcastle United manager John Carver reveals 'embarrassing' Euro 2020 play-off win injury

John Carver was left in agony after Scotland qualified for Euro 2020 – after tearing his calf in the celebrations.
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The former Newcastle United manager and coach, now assistant to Steve Clarke, has revealed why he left the team’s hotel on crutches following this week’s dramatic play-off final win over Serbia.

David Marshall saved a penalty from former United striker Aleksandar Mitrovic to end Scotland’s 22-year wait for a major tournament.

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"It was pretty embarrassing,” Carver told Sky Sports News. “The adrenaline is flowing, and I knew Mitrovic was going to miss the penalty.

"We were on our marks ready to go, and when David Marshall produced the wonderful save, that was it the starting gun – and off we went. Within five steps, the goalie coach tried to trip me up, Steven Reid jumped on my back, and then the next thing I felt like I’d been shot in the calf.

"I was in so much pain – and haven't felt anything like it.

"The performance director then tried to jump on my back, and then I saw the guys celebrating, but the pain was incredible. It still is, and it’s uncomfortable. Despite that, it was an incredible feeling to be part of it.

"You see how much it means to the nation, especially in the current times. Any big tournament needs a team like Scotland, and hopefully the way it’s going, we’ll have crowds in.

John Carver.John Carver.
John Carver.
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"Yes, I’m English, but I’m a professional, and I’ve given everything for Scotland – including a torn calf."

Carver – who had a spell as Newcastle manager after Alan Pardew left the club in the 2014/15 season – has known Scotland manager Clarke since 1999, when they were on Ruud Gullit’s coaching staff at St James’s Park.

"We met in 1999 when I was made first-team coach at Newcastle, and we developed a friendship,” said Carver. "We’ve kept in touch. Steve would ask me to watch games, as when you are out of work it’s a lonely place.

"He said I might be needed for September, October and November, and I looked at Norway, Serbia, Czech Republic and Israel – and did a few reports for him.

"All of a sudden he picked up the phone to join him – and the rest is history."