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What they said: Strachan & Hodgson ahead of Scotland v England

| 18.11.2014

In case you’ve been living under a rock, it’s England facing Scotland in Glasgow to round the international break and calendar year off, with the hosts 5/2 chances with Coral to defeat their Auld Enemy.

Many an influential player or manager have had their say about this battle between the bitterest of rivals. We’ll start with someone stating the obvious about this oldest international football fixture…

Versatile Scotland player Charlie Mulgrew: “There’s never a friendly between Scotland and England.”

And ex-England captain and former Hibernian boss Terry Butcher agrees: “It will be a massive test, huge. If the England team and supporters think this is going to be comfortable, a nice quiet friendly, they have got another thing coming.

“I think that this will be, without a shadow of a doubt, the most hostile environment England will face before they get to Euro 2016. This is a friendly but England and Scotland don’t do friendlies in any sport at any level.

“It is going to be an unbelievably hostile night. Celtic Park will be bouncing with the Tartan Army buoyant on the back of a Scotland team they are very optimistic about.

“Roy Hodgson may throw a line out that he may rest some players, but he will need all his most experienced players in this one. It won’t be for the faint-hearted.”

Strong and accurate words indeed. Speaking of England manager Roy Hodgson, here’s his two pence on this ‘friendly’ between Auld Enemies: “I’m sure each challenge will be competed for but Scotland aren’t that type of team and set their stall out to play football like we do.

“The game at Wembley last year was fantastic for us, we had to pull out all the stops. For me that’s the type of friendly you want.

“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. I will disappoint one goalkeeper but I don’t want to say which one of them I have chosen.”

Scotland full back Steven Whittaker, meanwhile, makes a case for the home defence: “We’re playing good football, so everything seems to be ticking the right boxes at the minute, but it all comes from the manager.

“His enthusiasm for the game is passed on to the players and we’re obviously going out there and doing the tasks at the minute.

“Recently, we’ve matched Germany, we’ve drawn in Poland and beaten Ireland – we are on the right track and we want another good result on Tuesday night.

As Whittaker name-checked Scotland boss Gordon Strachan, let’s hear from him: “It’s been very intense in training. It was like the first day of pre-season.

“There are so many players who want to play tomorrow night. There were one or two bumps this morning, but they’ll just get on with it. I would love to give everyone experience of playing but I want to win as well.

“Everybody involved will want to compete and make it as difficult for the other team to win as possible. It will be the same on the other side.

“It will be as intense tomorrow. I think the English players involved will enjoy the atmosphere, just as our players will do.”

And we’ll round off with England captain Wayne Rooney: “I’ve played here in the Champions League. It will be loud and intense. I’ve spoken to the players to make sure they’re ready because if you’re not, it can take you by surprise.

“I was excited when this fixture was arranged. I think it will be a good game.”

“We are on a good run at the moment and I think it’s important we continue this form and getting the results, because we know our next game is in March and it will be disappointing if we come off a bad result with such a long wait.”

Rooney is a 4/1 shot to score first, following four international goals in his last five caps.

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Jamie Clark

Athletics aficionado, die-hard snooker fan and Crystal Palace supporter Jamie has written for Coral since February 2014 after spells with Soccerlens and the Press Association as a digital journalist and copywriter. A former East Midlands sports correspondent and Bwin tipster, he is a graduate of both the University of York and University of Sheffield, with a Masters in web journalism from the latter.