England must keep focus on ‘dangerous’ Scotland, Terry Butcher claims

England and Scotland have had contrasting starts to Euro 2020.

Simon Peach
Wednesday 16 June 2021 15:26
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Former England captain Terry Butcher says Gareth Southgate’s side need to forget their winning start to Euro 2020 and focus everything on overcoming “dangerous enemy” Scotland

The Three Lions won a European Championship opener for the first time in their history on Sunday as Raheem Sterling’s strike sealed a 1-0 win against World Cup semi-final foes Croatia

Southgate was delighted to put a smile on supporters’ faces across the country, but the England boss underlined the importance of his players staying hungry to avoid getting “a bit soft” against Scotland.

Steve Clarke’s men head into Friday evening’s auld enemy showdown wounded by their 2-0 Hampden Park loss to the Czech Republic which Butcher believes makes them an even bigger threat at Wembley.

“I think Scotland are going to be a dangerous enemy – they always are, even more so now they’ve lost the first game,” he told the PA news agency.

“They would feel unlucky that they’ve lost the first game because it wasn’t anything between the teams apart from the finishing.

“I thought they looked alright, I thought they looked good and they’ll certainly give England a hard time come Friday.

“England have got to forget about the Croatia game and forget about everything else because this game takes care of itself, it’s on its own merits England-Scotland.”

Ex-England international and Scotland coach Butcher’s views echoed Southgate’s comments about pressing the reset button after beating Croatia in the Group D opener.

“Great minds, great minds,” the former defender said. “Enjoy it, park it and then prepare for a game probably like nothing else you’ve experienced.

“Yes, the fans are not going to be as many as they would be and that’s a disappointment for the players because the fans make these fixtures unbelievable. They make these fixtures unforgettable whatever the result.

“You’d always know about the Scotland games, they always stick out in your mind because of the sheer energy of the game, around the game, on the pitch and off the pitch.

“But England have got to match that and what England have to do is to play the game and not the occasion because if they get caught up in it it’s difficult.

“Even though you don’t meet these players week in, week out, you have Scottish players at your club, you know Scottish people.

“You don’t want to be ridiculed and given some stick by these people.

“You want to make sure that you’re the one that can hold the upper hand.”

Butcher was speaking at his induction into the National Football Museum Hall of Fame at former club Ipswich’s Portman Road in the days after England’s win

The 62-year-old felt talk about the Three Lions’ game management was overplayed and believes they need to keep the ball better, but he liked Southgate’s approach at variation between playing it long and short.

“I thought England mixed it up really, really well and I think that’s another string to your bow,” Butcher, who was named in the Scottish Football Hall of Fame 10 years ago, said.

“I think if you look long, you can always play it short. But if you look short, you can’t play it long then because you haven’t seen it.”

The ability to call game-changing players from the bench is another positive Butcher sees in England’s favour, with Jack Grealish an unused substitute on Sunday and Jadon Sancho not even making the bench.

Jadon Sancho and Jack Grealish did not feature in England's opener against Croatia

“I think it’s very similar to Eddie Jones,” he added.

“He says with England rugby, he doesn’t bring on substitutes, he brings on finishers. I think that’s very true with England.

“I think England have got finishers that can come on and finish the game.”

The National Football Museum has just unveiled its English Hall of Fame exhibition showcasing the stories of male and female Hall of Famers and objects of significance throughout their careers. For opening times and to book tickets go to https://www.nationalfootballmuseum.com/