Roy Hodgson expects Scottish edge in England game
It probably offers a small insight into what England can expect on their first visit to Scotland for 15 years that a member of their entourage from the last time they ventured north of the border could be found outside Celtic Park reminiscing about the wake-up call that had been reserved for Kevin Keegan’s team.
That was the first leg of the Euro 2000 play-off when Paul Scholes scored both goals in a 2-0 win and England chose Cameron House click, on the banks of Loch Lomond, as their base, hoping to get a bit of peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of Glasgow. Keegan and his players realised it was a mistake when a boat arrived 20 yards from shore and the hotel’s curtains started to tremble. It was 7am and there was a bagpiper on board, in full Highland dress, to give everyone a rendition of Flower of Scotland.
This time the Football Association has chosen an alternative location in the hope of getting a better night’s sleep. There was a little bit of drama before Roy Hodgson’s press conference when the marquee’s heater burst into flames but otherwise it was a relaxed event, culminating in a stroll for the players around Celtic Park. Hodgson seemed bemused when it was put to him there was no such thing as an England-Scotland friendly – “Why not?” he countered – and it all seemed very different from the days when Nobby Stiles’s 1968 autobiography probably summed up what the two old foes thought of one another.
“There are always plenty of vituperative comments by the Scots and, if they do win, it is played up out of all proportion and we never hear the last of it,” Stiles wrote in After The Ball. “Sometimes it goes beyond the bounds of partisanship and only points to one thing: an inferiority complex that can be sated only by reviling the English.”
An inferiority complex? The author of that quote, to put it in context, was part of the England team who lost to Scotland at Wembley in 1967; to quote Hodgson, “the painful one after the World Cup when Jim Baxter ran us ragged,” including one moment of ball-juggling along the touchline while Stiles, no more than a couple of yards away, bobbed up and down, unsure whether to try to make a challenge. Hodgson was not at that game – “you couldn’t get tickets for Wembley back then” – but it is still his “big Authentic Prada Outlet Online Usa memory” of the rivalry even if he did stop to point out that it was a very different kind of event these days.
“I don’t expect it to be an unnecessarily physical game because Scotland aren’t that kind of team. I’m expecting both teams to have the quality to want to win, and to create chances when they have the ball, and that will lead to some good counterattacking football. It will be hard-fought and competitive but I don’t think it will be unnecessarily competitive.”
Wayne Rooney said roughly the same and it would be wrong to assume the referee, Jonas Eriksson, will have an old-fashioned slugfest to control. Eriksson was the referee whom Manuel Pellegrini castigated after Manchester City lost to Authentic Prada Handbags Usa Barcelona in the Champions League last season. The Swede is likely to encounter some difficult moments but nothing hugely out of the ordinary. “I don’t think it will be like the games 20 years ago,” Rooney said. “It will be a football game. There will be an edge to it but that’s what you would expect from this kind of fixture.”
Hodgson’s intention is to field a strong starting line-up and Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Sale Uk make the most of having six substitutes and there are no deals in place with Premier League managers about the amount of Authentic Prada Handbags For Cheap time, for example, that Wayne Rooney or Raheem Sterling should play. “I’ve not been asked by any manager to spare his players, which I appreciate because, when that happens, it puts you in a difficult situation,” Hodgson said. “When you agree to spare one guy’s players, Authentic Prada Nylon Messenger Bag you immediately upset three or four others.”
There will be a level of experimentation, with Hodgson keen to involve Authentic Prada Handbags Outlet Online Stewart Downing, Ross Barkley and Saido Berahino at some point. Yet he also pointed out this was not an occasion to make wholesale changes. England may have won all their Euro 2016 qualifying games but Best Prada Outlet In Milan they have a four-month gap before their next match, the friendly in Italy in March, and it is important for Hodgson they are in a decent frame of mind now they are emerging from the long, chastening period of self-pity left by Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Shop Online their last tournament experience.
“The World Cup was a real cold shower for us, a really bad moment,” Bicester Village Prada Store Number Hodgson said. “I thought we were doing quite a lot of things that were leading us to where we’d hope. Then we lost two Amazon Uk Prada Bags matches and we hit a wall and supposedly we have to start again. We did have a massive barrier to get over after the World Cup. We created that barrier, we erected the fence, but I don’t think we have had to start all over again.”