The Glasgow experiment
This evening will see another edition of England vs Scotland, a highly anticipated friendly between two fierce rivals. It is the 112th meeting of the nations who met in the world’s first official international.
England manager Roy Hodgson wasn’t giving away any clues as to who would start for England in the world’s oldest fixture. He is expected however to name a much changed side and it was revealed Joe Hart won’t be starting in goal after being sent back to Manchester. The Scots are already fancying their chances. Hodgson may have his own ideas but here’s who we think may and should start at Celtic Park.
Goalkeeper – Fraser Forster The Southampton keeper has had plenty of experience playing big matches at this stadium during his days with Celtic. Forster, having only joined the Premier League this season for £10 million, has already proved his worth with a number of solid displays for his club, only conceding eight goals in 14 games. He is currently competing with Ben Foster to be Hart’s deputy but it would be disappointing if he weren’t to start.
Right-back – Nathaniel Clyne Another Southampton man who has shone this season deserves to keep his place and add to his momentum after the match against Slovenia where he put in a solid display. He hasn’t got any real competitors in that position so he can make it his own barring any injury problems.
Centre-backs – Calum Chambers and Chris Smalling While these two probably don’t have what it takes to be automatic starters on a regular basis yet the experience could be good for them. Chambers is a bright developing youngster still learning his trade while Smalling, somewhat a liability at times, might as well get the minutes and give Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka a bit of a rest.
Left-back – Luke Shaw Kieran Gibbs put in a decent shift on Saturday but with the absence of Baines it would be good to see Shaw get a run out with the senior team to aid his development. It’s also arguable that he looks better going forward than Gibbs.
Midfield – Theo Walcott Walcott after tragically missing out on another World Cup as well as nine months of football will be itching to get as much game time as possible. On his day he can be quite affect on the wing and his pace is something many defenders struggle to deal with.
Stewart Downing After seeing his career crumble following his move to Liverpool we have seen a massive resurgence in Downing’s game this season. He’s deserved his recall for his displays for West Ham this season and a start will only encourage him to keep up the good work so he doesn’t lose his place in the side again.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain The Ox is another bright young talent who deserves a run out. Injuries have stalled his career at times but we can only hope his luck changes so England and Arsenal can reap the rewards.
Ross Barkley Barkley was a player we wish Hodgson had used more at the World Cup. Having started the season with injury is a perfect match for him to bulldoze midfield and display the rare talent we know he has. Credited as the new “Gazza” he now needs to prove he can deliver on the big stage.
Strikers – Wayne Rooney Rooney, fresh of earing his 100th cap, knows his duty as captain to lead the country by example in this passionate fixture. He will know the significance of the event and will hopefully keep his cool amid the expected tense atmosphere that is expected.
Saido Berahino As for Berahino he has been somewhat of a revelation for West Brom this season, scoring seven goals in 10 Premier League matches. He would have made his debut during the last set of international fixtures had he not been needed by Southgate to help the U21s qualify for their next tournament. Now that he has a chance with the big boys hopefully he can deliver and add a presence that’s lacking without the injured Daniel Sturridge and the ageing Rickie Lambert.