England v Scotland: Pressure is on visitors to perform at Wembley says Gordon Strachan
The sides meet for the first time in 14 years
Tuesday 13 August 2013
Scotland boss Gordon Strachan insists the pressure is on to perform against England in tomorrow night's friendly at Wembley.
Both sides are currently involved in the business of a World Cup qualifying campaign but Strachan will not accept anything less than full commitment from his troops when they face the 'Auld Enemy' as part of the Football Association's 150th anniversary year.
"There is pressure there, trust me," he told a press conference televised by Sky Sports News. "Because if there wasn't pressure it would be one of these normal run of the mill friendlies that you play.
"It's a fixture we all want to see more often. Players, fans, media, even people who are not really football fans are interested in that Scotland-England game.
"I know we play them in other sports but this the a sport where everybody can really attach themselves and enjoy it."
He added: "It is a friendly, it's a celebration of football but as a game it's got to be competitive, that's for sure. You can tell the difference.
"When I was as a player or a manager friendly games didn't really turn me on. I think players could sniff that from me but it's a bit different this one."
Strachan has cancelled this evening's training session at Wembley as he feels his players are ready to face England and, while he has yet to decide on his starting XI, he is certain whoever he sends out will be up for the challenge.
"They're fine, they're good, they're looking forward to it," he said.
"Some guys like a motivational speech to help them get along, some are self-motivated.
"The time has to be right.You might have to speak to individuals to put them in a good place, you might have to speak to the group to put them in a good place.
"The timing has to be to be right but these boys are self-motivated so I don't think have to do too much.
"The atmosphere once we get there, once we travel to the game, will definitely will affect them in terms of positivity."
He added: "We've got a couple of things we have to think about in terms of players are making a stink and also there is one or two wee knocks so we need to make sure the players are right.
"We don't want to send them back to their clubs where they are struggling with a game coming up on Saturday."
One man in the England squad who has been struggling with injury of late is Wayne Rooney who has played just a single behind-closed-doors game for Manchester United in pre-season and missed the Community Shield on Saturday due to a shoulder problem.
That comes after Chelsea have seen two bids rejected for the 27-year-old and his inclusion in Roy Hodgson's squad for Wednesday's game raised a few eyebrows.
But United boss David Moyes has stressed that he has no problem with Rooney representing his country and Strachan was more keen to focus on footballing matters rather than politics south of the border.
"I'm sure Wayne Rooney would appreciate it if I just kept quiet," he said.
"He's a terrific terrific player, one of the best in the world.
"We just have to deal with that and deal with the rest of the good players that are there.
"They have a magnificent squad but we're really feeling good about ourselves with the kind of training we've done over the last couple of days.
"What we've seen, what we've got. We're more than happy with the squad that we've got."
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