Former Scotland manager Gordon Strachan says England will be wary of Scotland on Friday night.
Despite beating World Cup finalists Croatia 1-0 at Wembley on Sunday, the 50-times capped midfielder felt “England weren’t that good” and lacked the “wow factor”.
The Scots need a result after losing their opening match 2-0 to the Czech Republic and Strachan is predicting a “truly exciting and really enjoyable 0-0” in the second match of Group D.
Strachan, the last boss to take a Scotland team to Wembley, was pitted against former England boss Glenn Hoddle ahead of the Euro 2020 clash for bookmaker Betfair.
And he didn’t hold back in his assessment of Southgate’s side in their opening match against Croatia.
Dundee technical director Strachan said: “I don’t think England were that good. When I tuned in I thought ‘have I watched the wrong game here’.
“It was just OK, and the only real bit of class was Kalvin Phillips. I don’t think there was a wow factor.
“Some players played within themselves and it was a good performance rather than a wow performance.”
On Friday’s clash, he added: “Gareth and his team will be wary, just as they were of Croatia.
“Fans are different altogether. It’s not about football with fans, it’s about superiority.
“England have that superiority complex in basically everything. I don’t know if it adds an extra stride to the players. It will make for a good game.
“I imagine it will be heated, most likely the petulant screaming and shouting at the referee.
“Not to mention some meaty challenges. The crowd is affecting players and making them more emotional – that is when you have to get your yellow yards, to curb the emotion.”
Will Steve Clarke change his team?
The big concern for Scotland fans is the fitness of Arsenal’s Kieran Tierney and whether he’ll be able to slot into the left side of Steve Clarke’s back three.
The defender has been rated as touch and go to be fit by Clarke. If he is, then Strachan expects him to team up with Grant Hanley and Liam Cooper in the backline.
“Whether they will change the shape remains to be seen, or will they swap out Liam Cooper, or move big Liam across?” added Strachan.
“As long as Hanley and Tierney are there, that is good pace.
“Hanley has played against Harry Kane a few times, so that will help.
“It would be good to play the three players who have played against Kane.
“Nothing against Jack Hendry, but Hanley, Cooper and Tierney have all faced Kane in the Premier League and they know the ins and outs of their games.”
England’s main threat
Despite having the likes of Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden, Mason Mount and Marcus Rashford to choose from, Kane is the main threat from England says Strachan.
Though he’s desperate not to see Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish in the opening line-up either.
Strachan said: “Jack Grealish will stand out, if he plays. I don’t want him to play for that reason.
“Harry Kane is the best No 9 in the world, closely followed by Karim Benzema. He can do everything. He is Alan Shearer and Teddy Sheringham rolled into one.”
Hoddle expecting more of a test from Scotland than Croatia
Hoddle, meanwhile, agreed with Strachan on Grealish as he predicts a 2-1 England victory, though he expects more of a test from Scotland than Croatia.
Asked who England’s key man is, Hoddle said: “If Grealish is playing I’d say him, but I don’t think he’ll start. I think he’ll have a big impact if he comes on from the bench.
“Scotland will be quite deep so we might need someone to run at people and draw fouls. If he plays, he’s the man.
“They’re all dangerous, they’ve got some talent left, right and centre going forward.
“There’s a bit more to come from Foden, he could be somebody that really comes alive on the day.
“It’s one of those scenarios where Grealish or Foden could have a big impact.”
He added: “It’s going to be a tight game but the pressure’s on Scotland to open up a bit more.
“If they get a draw they’ll really be under pressure against Croatia in the last game. I think the game will be a little more open than if the result had gone the right way for the Scots.
“They created enough chances, they proved that against the Czechs.
“The game might be heated at times and I think they’ll give us even more of a test than Croatia.
“It will get a bit feisty, if you’re playing tiddlywinks against Scotland it gets feisty, that’s the combative energy this fixture brings up.
“The team that controls their emotions will end up playing better and winning.”