5 talking points as England and Scotland get set to renew rivalry

The two countries face each other in a key Euro 2020 fixture at Wembley on Friday.

Pa Sport Staff
Thursday 17 June 2021 19:22
Wembley plays host to England against Scotland on Friday
Wembley plays host to England against Scotland on Friday

The oldest rivalry in international football continues on Friday night as England and Scotland clash at Euro 2020 on Friday.

The long-awaited fixture takes on more significance, with England looking to build on a winning start to Group D over Croatia and Scotland aiming to bounce back after losing to the Czech Republic.

Here, the PA news agency looks ahead to some of the key talking points ahead of the game.

Taking the knee to stand as one

England players take the knee before the game against Croatia

Scotland’s players will join England in taking the knee ahead of kick-off in a stance of solidarity against racism.

While the England squad have seen the gesture jeered by a minority of supporters of late, Scotland have been standing against racism before games.

Having initially said they would not take the knee, the visitors relented and it remains to be seen what the Wembley reaction will be to all 22 players dropping to a knee before kick-off.

Return of the Mag

Harry Maguire has resumed training

England boss Gareth Southgate opted to name Harry Maguire in his 26-man squad despite the Manchester United defender carrying an ankle injury.

The centre-back sat out the two warm-up fixtures and the Euro 2020 opener against Croatia but declared himself fit to face Scotland.

It now remains to be seen if he will come straight back into the England side or whether Southgate keeps faith in the back line which kept the World Cup finalists at bay on Sunday.

Scotland wait on Tierney

Losing the Arsenal defender to what Steve Clarke described as a “niggle” was a major blow ahead of Monday’s Group D opener with the Czechs.

After years of fretting over how to fit the nation’s two world-class left-backs into the same team, it appeared Clarke had finally found a solution with Andy Robertson taking up a wing-back role and Tierney operating as a bold, over-lapping centre-back positioned to the left of a back three.

But without the former Celtic defender Scotland struggled to build from the back and a major rethink will be required if he is forced to sit out again at Wembley.

Kane to prove he is able

Harry Kane struggled against Croatia

There is no doubting Harry Kane’s ability – the 2018 World Cup golden boot winner ended the last Premier League campaign leading both the goalscorer and assist charts.

But he was on the periphery of Sunday’s win over Croatia, hardly having a sniff of goal as he dropped deeper and deeper to get on the ball.

Kane has said he will do whatever it takes to help the team be successful but the England skipper will also be keen to get off the mark at the finals and has a good record of finding the back of the net against Scotland.

Youth or experience the dilemma for Clarke

Nathan Patterson is pushing for a Scotland start

The Scotland boss is conservative by nature but also loyal to the players who have helped steer his side this far. That is why he stuck by the likes of Stephen O’Donnell for Monday’s Hampden clash despite a clamour for Rangers youngster Nathan Patterson to start.

The Motherwell man outstrips the Ibrox teenager – who has made just 17 professional appearances – in experience but lacks the attacking creativity of his fresh-faced rival. Celtic winger James Forrest is also a contender for the right wing-back slot, while calls for Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour to get a chance also continued to grow after this week’s defeat.

Che Adams will feel he should be next in line to start up front after Lyndon Dykes passed up a golden chance to score at Hampden.