Tuesday, 18 November, 20:00 GMT
Scotland will want to win against the Auld Enemy and know that they will be the biggest test for Hodgson’s team’s credentials. England and Scotland share a very intense rivalry (needless to say), and this transcends on to the football pitch as well. The social as well as cultural effects of centuries of animosity and conflict has led to the intense nature of sports being contested amongst the two sides.
England have no injuries to worry about, but Liverpool trio of Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana might see themselves on the bench. Instead we are likely to see Arsenal‘s Alex Oxlade Chamberlain start, alongside Manchester City‘s James Milner and Everton’s Ross Barkley. Scotland only have the injury of Steven Fletcher to deal with.
Even though this is a friendly, the atmosphere in Celtic Park is going to be anything but what the word suggests.
The Tartan Army would be fairly optimistic about their chances in the game as they come into this match having enhanced their prospects of qualifying from Group D for the Euro 2016 with a 1-0 win over the Republic of Ireland. They would have the belief of pulling off an upset in this game.
Even though Gordan Strachan will want to rotate some of his squad members, following the tough match against Ireland, he fully understands the value this game holds for the masses and would be taking this clash very seriously.
Steven Fletcher was withdrawn from the squad and thus Derby County’s Chris Martin, who has scored 10 goals from 17 appearances so far in the Championship, would lead the line. Steven Naismith, another impressive player this season (Everton) would start behind Martin in the hole, with Graham Dorrans and Shaun Maloney on either sides. Behind them, commanding the midfield would be Manchester United’s Darren Fletcher and home boy Scott Brown, who plies his trade for Celtic at the club level.
In the defence, we are likely to see Steven Whittaker as the right back; Christophe Berra and Russell Martin in the centre; and Hull’s extremely impressive 20 year old Andrew Robertson as the left back. Craig Gordon would be line up for the Scots between the sticks.
The Scots boast some impressive names and are certainly no minnows. They can take the lack of expectations from them as an advantage and pull a rabbit out of the hat. Their impressive victory over Ireland would have definitely given them a lot of confidence, and if they carry the right belief into this game, there is no reason why they can’t get a win, especially in front of a passionate home crowd.
Probable Line-Up (4-2-3-1): Gordon; Whittaker, Berra, Martin, Robertson; Fletcher, Brown; Dorrans, Naismith, Maloney; Chris Martin
England are enjoying a great run at the international level after the disappointment of the World Cup. But this can be because they haven’t really faced any challenging opponents, bar Switzerland. Needless to say, the Three Lions have lifted themselves after the tournament and have been thrust into a new era as they look to win a trophy in the coming years.
They enter this game at the back of a 3-1 win over Slovenia. A win was expected, so it doesn’t really change the scenario of things. However, they would be fairly confident going into this game.
We could see Saido Berahino get a start in the game, as was indicated by Roy Hodgson. However, it seems more likely that Welbeck, who is in great form himself, starts and the West Brom youngster comes in later. Captain Wayne Rooney celebrated his 100 caps with style as he scored in England’s win over Slovenia, and would lead the attack against arch rivals Scotland as well.
It would be interesting to see who Hodgson picks in the midfield roles. Jack Wilshere would probably start in the deeper role, with Alex Oxlade Chamberlain and James Milner a little ahead as the two central midfielders in the diamond. We could see Ross Barkley get a start in his favored number 10 spot. ‘Tired’ Raheem Sterling (getting old now, right?) would probably be benched and brought on later for impact.
The defence is going to comprise Luke Shaw on the left; Jagielka and Cahill in the centre; and the in-form man Nathaniel Clyne on the right. Hodgson might start Chambers instead of Clyne, if he wants to give the promising youngster a chance. It would be interesting to see if Fraser Forster starts in goal for England at the home ground of his former club, Celtic. Hodgson said before the game, “The major focus here is on Fraser Forster and if I choose him it won’t be for any sentimental reasons at Celtic Park, it will be because he deserves a start.”
The Three Lions would be hoping to continue their good run of form and return home with a win. With the team they boast, and the form of the attackers, they have a good chance of doing so.
Probable Line-up (4-4-2): Forster; Clyne, Cahill, Jagielka, Shaw; Wilshere, Milner, Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain, Barkley; Welbeck, Rooney
Player to watch out for: Danny Welbeck (England); Andrew Robertson (Scotland)
Final Prediction: England 2 Scotland 1
Blast from the past: