The clash between the two nations – the oldest international fixture in the world, dating back to 1872 – has had its fair share of tempestuous moments, on and off the pitch over the years.

And with England leading Group F and Scotland struggling in fourth, there is plenty at stake for both sides, so keeping tempers in check will be key, Southgate said.

“We have to have emotional control going into the game,” he told a news conference on Monday.

“It is important our players have an understanding of the history of the game. It is the oldest international fixture. We will make sure if the players don’t know about it, that they are made aware of it in the early part of the week.”

While England are unbeaten in their three qualifiers to stand top with seven points, Scotland have just four points and are down in fourth.

But Southgate said England would be foolish to underestimate Gordon Strachan’s side.

“Whatever happened with their results, it does not reflect their performances,” he said.

“Their mentality for a game like this is unquestionable and they have unquestionable spirit. We will have to better that and outplay them to win the game.

Friday’s match will be the third of four matches for Southgate in his stint as interim manager.

The former England defender said he was not worried what a defeat would do for his chances of getting the job full-time.

“I’m not even considering the result going wrong,” he said.

“What happens to me is not important. I am leading the country into a prestigious game and am not thinking beyond that match.”

Southgate, who will already be without the injured Dele Alli, could lose another midfielder as Theo Walcott’s wife is expecting their child.

“We have named 25 (in the squad) because of a couple of knocks from yesterday,” he said.

“We are not totally sure but Theo Walcott could disappear at anytime with his wife expecting, and we are conscious of that.

“We are happy with where everyone is at, two exciting games and will need to use the squad for both of those matches.”

Southgate said he will monitor the fitness of Tottenham striker Harry Kane, who returned for his club at the weekend after more than a month out through injury.

And former Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, now on loan at Bournemouth, is in the reckoning for a place having been recalled to the squad.

“There has never been any questioning his quality, I feel he is a player that can play at the highest level,” Southgate said.

“He has had three 90 minutes for Bournemouth, and it is a good moment to invite him back into the squad.”

Source: GNA/


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