England v Scotland: Rivalry just as intense, says Gordon Strachan


International friendly: England v Scotland

  • Venue: Wembley Stadium, London
  • Date: Wednesday, 14 August
  • Kick-off: 20:00 BST

Coverage: Live text commentary online, BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Radio Scotland

The rivalry between England and Scotland will be just as intense as in previous years, according to Scotland boss Gordon Strachan.

The two Auld Enemies face one another after a gap of 14 years on Wednesday.

This fixture is "different" from any other, says Strachan, with players desperate to get one over on club-mates and fans eager for bragging rights.

"There is pressure there. If there wasn't, it would be one of those run-of-the-mill friendlies," he said.

It is a friendly and a celebration of football, but the game is going to be competitive

Gordon Strachan Scotland manager

"They never turned me on as a player. This is different."

Strachan, who played four times against England, does not think his players will need anything special said in the dressing-room to ensure they are motivated at Wembley.

"I think some guys like a motivational speech, some are self-motivated," he said.

"You might have to speak to individuals or the group. These boys are self-motivated - I don't think I'll have to do too much."

Strachan reiterated his previous suggestion that it is a fixture, formerly played on an annual basis, that has been missed from the calendar.

"It is a fixture we all want to see more often - players, fans, media, even people who are not football fans," he suggested.

"This is the sport everyone really can attach themselves to and enjoy it.

"It is a friendly and a celebration of football, but the game is going to be competitive."

Strachan faces up to Phil Neal at Wembley in 1983

Strachan faces up to England full-back Phil Neal at Wembley in 1983

Strachan has abandoned the idea of a traditional training session on the opposition pitch 24 hours before the fixture.

"We're good, feeling good," he explained. "We thought about going to Wembley, but it would be an hour there and an hour back, so we knocked that on the head as we have done enough.

"They are really looking forward to it."

England go into the game with star striker Wayne Rooney having not played in pre-season for Manchester United.

However, Strachan was unconcerned by questions of whether he thought the controversy surrounding Rooney's reported desire to leave Old Trafford would leave the forward unsettled at Wembley.

"I don't know, you will have to ask him," said the former United midfielder.

"I can't tell you how he is feeling. I'm sure Wayne Rooney will appreciate it if I kept quiet as everyone else is talking about him.

"He is a terrific player and one of the best in the world.

"We just have to deal with that and the rest of the players that are there. They have a fantastic squad but we are really feeling good about ourselves."

Scotland go into the friendly having ended a disappointing run of World Cup qualifying results by defeating Croatia in Zagreb.

That lifted their spirits ahead of a visit to a team ranked 36 places above them in the world rankings - although England are six behind the eighth-ranked Croats.

"I could not tell how we will feel after the game win, lose or draw," Strachan said when asked what a win at Wembley would mean to his side.

"A win in football makes you reasonably content until the next game.

"When we were in Croatia, the whole squad were very proud of the performance."