England manager Gareth Southgate insists that the Three Lions’ epic rivalry with Scotland will stand the test of time as he prepares for another intense encounter
- Gareth Southgate says England’s rivalry with Scotland will stand the test of time
- Southgate is preparing his team for another intense encounter on Tuesday
- Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast It’s All Kicking Off!
Delirium after THAT Gazza goal at Euro 96. The Tartan Army’s Wembley invasion and dismantling of the goalposts after the 2-1 win in 1977. England’s 5-0 demolition of the Scots in their own backyard in 1973.
England versus Scotland — it is a deep-rooted rivalry woven into the tapestry of our sporting traditions.
But in a world where the Premier League and Champions League are king, is it a rivalry that will stand the test of time? ‘Yes’, responded England boss Gareth Southgate emphatically.
‘My first memory is some of the Scottish fans nicking the goalposts at Wembley back in ’77.
‘When I was growing up, there was only the FA Cup final and the home internationals that were live on television, so it was the only game we saw.
England boss Gareth Southgate says the rivalry with Scotland will stand the test of time
Southgate is preparing his England team for another intense encounter against Scotland
There have been some epic moments in England-Scotland games, such as Paul Gascoigne’s goal in 1996
‘This is horrendous what I’m going to say here ahead of tomorrow, but I was supporting Scotland in the 1978 World Cup because we had not qualified. Then we were back in ’82 and all of a sudden, onwards it was all about England. But they are great fixtures.
‘I know there’s a rivalry and I know people will be wary of it crossing a boundary, but it’s a brilliant sporting rivalry and a great game to be involved in.’
Yet if certain players are not as passionate about the rivalry as others, it would be entirely understandable. Dual nationality, even treble nationality, is common in the complex landscape of international eligibility.
Scotland goalkeeper Angus Gunn is set to start against England on Tuesday despite being in one of Southgate’s squads in 2017. England are trying to poach Elliot Anderson from under Scotland’s nose. Scotland want to pull Harvey Barnes from England’s camp.
If the rivalry has become diluted for the modern day footballer, it is not hard to see why. But Southgate was raised in another era. The England/Scotland conflict burns as fiercely as ever for the England manager.
‘I think the stories are handed down and the history is handed down,’ the 53-year-old explains.
The fact Southgate believes it would be ‘ridiculous’ to overly experiment with his team in Glasgow indicates how seriously the England boss is taking this ‘friendly’.
That said, Southgate will tinker — Aaron Ramsdale is set to replace Jordan Pickford in goal, while Kalvin Phillips is also hopeful of starting in place of Jordan Henderson.
Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale is set to be given a start against Scotland
‘For us it is more important that we learn as well as play well. It’s what can we take from the game,’ he said. ‘We have got to be strong because they are a good team and we are coming into an environment where you have got to have the personality to play. But we do want to find some things out as well.
‘We’re playing a very high level opponent in a very intimidating atmosphere. They are the sort of nights that have been an important part of our progress over six or seven years.
‘Some of the guys have experienced that and some haven’t, it’s going to be great to find out more about them.
‘But it’s also a challenge we’ve got to head towards, we have to walk into these challenges and relish them because we’ve got huge ambitions as a team and we’ve got a lot of work to do.
‘What we have got is a great spirit, we have to always remind ourselves we are all about the team and we have to show that.’
Southgate has never lost to Scotland as a manager and does not want to start now.
At his pre-match press conference on Monday, he was reminded that he was part of the last England squad to lose to Scotland in 1999. ‘We won the tie though didn’t we?,’ Southgate responded instantly. Don Hutchison’s goal at Wembley gave Scotland a 1-0 win at Wembley on the night, but Paul Scholes’ brace at Hampden sent England to Euro 2000.
Yet, Southgate’s terse answer was telling. Losing to Scotland? Not if Southgate can help it.
Southgate was part of the last England squad to lose against Scotland in 1999
‘I don’t remember the games (in 1999) in huge detail, I can remember we had a strong back four here — Sol Campbell played right back — and obviously I remember Scholesy’s two goals.
‘I remember after the first one Arthur Cox telling us all to sit down on the bench and calm down. Then he leapt up and ran about 30 yards after the second goal went it!
‘They were like every England versus Scotland game — really intense encounters.’
Strap yourselves in, folks.
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