International friendlies - Cahill: Bring on Scotland

England defender Gary Cahill is looking forward to football's oldest international rivalry as his side take on Scotland.

PA Sport
International friendlies - Cahill: Bring on Scotland
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Gary Cahill, pictured, has enjoyed playing alongside Phil Jagielka for England

England and Scotland were first at each other's throats in 1872 and, other than the war years, played annually until 1989.

Since then, the two countries have met on only three occasions.

Paul Gascoigne scored one of the most memorable goals of his career against the Scots at Wembley during Euro '96 and three years later both teams won the away leg of their Euro 2000 play-off, although it was the Three Lions who emerged victorious on aggregate.

Now the pair are preparing to do battle for the 111th occasion when they meet at Wembley next Wednesday, with England having the edge in victories 45-41.

For a new generation of players, it will be a unique occasion and something Cahill cannot wait to experience.

Speaking on behalf of England team sponsors Vauxhall at a youth event in Fareham, the Chelsea defender said: "It is an exciting prospect.

"It is the sense of the occasion and the atmosphere you look forward to the most.

"It is the local rivalry that gets your mouth watering. Everybody is looking forward to the fixture and no doubt the build-up will be big.

"People always say there is no such thing as a friendly. But this definitely won't be. Both teams will be going at it to get a result."

Cahill was only nine when Gascoigne lifted the ball over Colin Hendry's head and drilled it past Andy Goram, a goal that has gone down in English footballing folklore.

"I have vague memories of the 1996 game from the highlights I have seen, and especially that goal," he said.

"It has been a long time."

Of course, there is a wider dimension to the fixture.

For, aside from the squabbling either side of Hadrian's Wall, there are two huge World Cup qualifiers to prepare for against Moldova and Ukraine at the beginning of September.

It has been a while since the draw in Montenegro, during which time England's world ranking has plummeted.

Yet that downturn according to FIFA does not tally with an encouraging draw against Brazil at the Maracana, when Cahill again showed his central-defensive partnership with Phil Jagielka is a platform England can build from.

"I feel confident playing with him," said Cahill.

"Because we have played together for the last couple of games, people seem to think we have been doing it for ages.

"But it has only been the last couple of games and there are always other players who are pushing for that position.

"I do enjoy playing with him though and we have done reasonably well when we have played together."

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