Gareth Southgate’s England complete their September international break with a friendly against old rivals Scotland.
The match has been scheduled to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first meeting between the two football nations in 1872. That contest was recognised by Fifa as football’s first international match, with 4,000 supporters in attendance at the West of Scotland Cricket Club in Glasgow.
In the build-up to this match, Southgate revealed that he has twice talked Kyle Walker out of international retirement.
When is it?
Scotland could discover, midway through the game, that they have qualified for Euro 2024. That will depend on the results from competitive qualification games being played elsewhere in Europe tonight.
Where is the game being played?
At Hampden Park in Glasgow, which is Scotland’s national football stadium.
What TV channel is it on?
Like England’s qualification games, the Scotland friendly is on Channel 4. Coverage starts at 7pm.
What is the recent head-to-head record?
There was no game between England and Scotland for 14 years at the start of the century, but there have been more in recent years.
England and Scotland were in the same qualification group for the 2018 World Cup, with England winning 3-0 at home but requiring a last-gasp Harry Kane goal to spare them a defeat at Hampden.
The two teams played at the 2020 (delayed until 2021) European Championship, with Scotland earning plenty of plaudits for their display in a goalless draw at Wembley.
Who is in England’s squad?
Defenders: Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Levi Colwill (Chelsea), Lewis Dunk (Brighton), Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Fikayo Tomori (AC Milan), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle), Kyle Walker (Manchester City).
Forwards: Eberechi Eze (Crystal Palace), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Bayern Munich), James Maddison (Tottenham Hotspur), Eddie Nketiah (Arsenal), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Callum Wilson (Newcastle United)
Who is in Scotland’s squad?
Goalkeepers: Zander Clark (Hearts), Angus Gunn (Norwich City), Liam Kelly (Motherwell)
Defenders: Jack Hendry (Al-Ettifaq), Aaron Hickey (Brentford), Scott McKenna (Nottingham Forest), Nathan Patterson (Everton), Ryan Porteous (Watford), Andy Robertson Liverpool, John Souttar (Rangers), Kieran Tierney (Real Sociedad)
Midfielders: Stuart Armstrong (Southampton), Billy Gilmour (Brighton), Lewis Ferguson (Bologna), Ryan Jack (Rangers), John McGinn (Aston Villa), Callum McGregor (Celtic), Kenny McLean (Norwich City), Scott McTominay (Manchester United)
What are the odds?
Scotland to win 18/5
England to win 11/14
Southgate: I persuaded Kyle Walker not to retire – twice
England manager Gareth Southgate has revealed that he has talked “world-class” Kyle Walker out of international retirement twice, including after the Qatar World Cup last year.
Walker scored his first England goal in his 77th international appearance against Ukraine, but the right-back would have retired without ever netting for his country had it not been for Southgate.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola this summer took Walker out to dinner to talk him out of moving to Bayern Munich and Southgate revealed that he has twice had similar conversations over the 33-year-old’s international future – once after England’s defeat in the final of the European Championships in 2021 and most recently after the World Cup.
“I’ve talked him out of retirement twice, out of international football,” said Southgate. “After the Euros and after the World Cup.
“I think he loves being here and he’s wanted to keep going and now he’s thinking about how many caps he can get. He’s critical to you. If we’re talking about world-class players in their position in our team, then he’s probably one of them.”
Asked to expand on exactly how he talked Walker out of international retirement on each occasion, Southgate checked himself and replied: “No, no there’s no need for detail and I probably realise I’ve overstepped here! No, I’m not going to go into more detail.”
Walker: I’ve sacrificed so many summers
Southgate managed to confess to Walker that he had revealed his secret before the former Tottenham Hotspur defender stopped to talk briefly to the written media after scoring his goal in Ukraine.
Walker was accosted by Southgate, who said “I told you!” just as he was asked about being talked out of England retirement. Once the pair had stopped laughing, Walker said: “At the time that me and Gareth spoke, the likes of Trent [Alexander-Arnold], Tripps [Kieran Trippier] and Reece James were coming through - you do think your days are numbered.
“And to sacrifice how many holidays and summers that I’ve sacrificed. I’ve been doing this since I was 19 [when] I joined the senior team. I’m 33 now. Me and Gareth have a good relationship off the field. We do speak and I feel that I can still bring something to the team. So why stop?”
Walker was also informed that England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford had earlier described him as the “best right-back in the world” and he replied by saying: “Well, I’m going to give him a coke when I get on the bus then.”
“He’s the best right-back in the world for me and he definitely helps as well. He’s experienced now, he is 33, got that experienced head and he’s been at Manchester City winning the titles he’s won and everything he’s done in his career. He helps us as players, but the experienced side of him is really good to work with.”
Outlining just why he talked Walker out of international retirement and what he brings to the England squad on and off the pitch, Southgate said: “Well, I think he has [got better with age]. It doesn’t always happen but he has.
“I think, not only playing but also him around the training, the way I hear him speak when he’s interviewed, his influence on the group, he’s become a really mature leader for us.
“Mudryk has not hit the heights yet in the Premier League but he’s a bloody dangerous player. His ability to control those counter attacks was critical.
“But also the way he’s trained all week, his influence on younger players in the group. His all round game, great composure in a position where you don’t always find it and our senior players were important and he was the pick against Ukraine.
“He’s got huge experience of winning big matches and all week, I pulled him two or three days into the training because his focus was really clear, the way he was organising on the pitch and I think he’s enjoying the extra responsibility he’s had at his club and I know he’s ready to embrace that with us as well.”