I WAS there at Euro 96 when England played Scotland and Gazza scored that goal, so I know what this fixture means.
That was my first time at Wembley and for anyone of my generation who is in love with football, Wembley is a mythical place.
Jose Mourinho was a scout for Barcelona in 1996 and watched England’s clash with ScotlandCredit: The Sun
England beat Scotland 2-0 with goals from Alan Shearer and Paul Gascoigne at WembleyCredit: Getty
Jose Mourinho described the England-Scotland showdown at Euro 96 as ‘amazing, before the game, after the game’Credit: Reuters
I had just arrived at Barcelona and they asked me to go to England for the whole month and scout for them.
England-Scotland was amazing, before the game, after the game.
I was lucky at that time, nobody knew me. I could travel on the Tube and walk around freely and enjoy the other side of football, which is a beautiful one.
When I arrived, I was totally shocked, in a good sense, with the passion and the atmosphere of a full house at this stunning stadium.
So I know what the match means, especially to Scotland.
They are super-motivated and they have that Braveheart spirit but in football it’s very, very rare that miracles happen.
When I say miracles, I mean a team overcoming a huge difference in quality.
Can Scotland go to Wembley and win? Yes, because it’s one football match — but no, because England are a much better team with much better players.
Jose Mourinho worked with Scotland manager Steve Clarke at ChelseaCredit: The Sun
Jose Mourinho said then-assistant Steve Clarke was ‘perfect’ to work with him at ChelseaCredit: PA:Empics Sport
When you have clearly the stronger team — and are in a much better situation, needing a point from two matches, while Scotland need four points against the two best teams in the group — the only thing England need is to respect the opposition.
You must believe Scotland’s mentality can make their team much better than the sum of its parts — but England are much, much better.
Scotland are based on their three best players — Kieran Tierney, Andy Robertson and Scott McTominay.
And without Tierney against the Czech Republic, they were reduced to two top-quality players.
I would expect more from John McGinn and Stuart Armstrong, they are good Premier League players.
Scotland, though, are a team with a good mentality but without real talent, especially in attack.
I was surprised with Scotland against the Czechs in the way they really struggled to build their game. The quality wasn’t high.
Their spirit will be doubled at Wembley but England just have to approach the game in a serious way and win.
I know Scotland’s manager, Steve Clarke, very well. When I first went to Chelsea, I asked for options to employ one coach who knew the club and the country, to help me adapt.
Patrik Schick’s long-range strike sunk Scotland’s hopes in their opener against Czech RepublicCredit: The Sun
Goalkeeper David Marshall was caught out for the stunning second goalCredit: AP
I was given a few names, I interviewed them and decided on Steve.
He was perfect for me. He knew the players, the teams, the culture. He integrated very well with my Portuguese staff and was very loyal to me and the club.
He was without any agenda, except to help the team. He was an important guy in our first spell at Chelsea and I follow his career.
I know what Scotland means to him. Steve is very good at hiding his emotions but he is a very emotional guy and he feels very much the nature and the responsibility of this job.
For the Czech Republic’s second goal when his keeper, David Marshall, was beaten from 50 yards by Patrik Schick, I don’t know if it was team strategy or the goalkeeper’s decision but, for me, Marshall shouldn’t have been so high up the pitch.
To win, England only need to respect Scotland…they are much, much better
Fifty years ago only Pele, Eusebio and Bobby Charlton could hit a shot like that. Now, the ball is super-light, the ball flies and almost every player can do it.
Schick was brilliant, though. It was maybe the goal of the tournament for its beauty.
If the quality of your possession is very high and you are not going to lose the ball easily, the goalkeeper can play higher and you have one extra player.
If, like France, you have Raphael Varane, Presnel Kimpembe, N’Golo Kante and Adrien Rabiot, their keeper, Hugo Lloris, can sit in a chair if he wants because they are never going to lose the ball.
But when the quality of players, under pressure, can make mistakes, like Scotland, it is better for the keeper to stay on the penalty spot.
Scotland’s centre-backs can easily be targeted.
CRISTIANO IS SO BOOT-IFUL
CRISTIANO RONALDO will become the all-time leading scorer in international football sooner or later.
After scoring twice for Portugal against Hungary, he has 106 goals for his country — just three behind Iran’s Ali Daei — and has beaten Michel Platini’s record for Euros finals goals.
His 11 Euros strikes are the goals I like in his record — there are a lot of goals against Andorra or Luxembourg but these are the ones that matter.
He showed again that he is still a top player. He is not going to make the kind of run that Kylian Mbappe did against Germany but he is going to score goals until his last day.
As expected, Cristiano and Romelu Lukaku are already there with two goals each.
Along with Harry Kane, Karim Benzema and Mbappe, they will contest the Golden Boot.
Harry Kane will lead England into battle with Scotland on Friday nightCredit: Getty
Jordan Henderson and Marcus Rashford in training on ThursdayCredit: Getty
I saw how difficult it was for Scotland to play from the back and to reach the midfield so I would ask if Billy Gilmour can’t give them more possession.
I looked to Spain playing this youngster Pedri and I ask myself if Gilmour can’t give more to Scotland.
And up front, Che Adams has more mobility than the two strikers who started.
Scotland will be defending in a low block, trying to survive waves of English attacks.
Maybe Gilmour and Adams can help. But when you are in Steve’s shoes, you know you are playing a team with a much better squad. Gareth Southgate got his team right against Croatia and I expect an unchanged England team.
Kalvin Phillips was all over the field — attacking, defending, pressing high, following Luka Modric, giving great intensity to the team.
Raheem Sterling scored the winner in England’s opening game against CroatiaCredit: Getty
It was a great decision by Gareth and Phillips has to play now.
Scotland will play a back five but Gareth can adapt his players without changing England’s system.
You don’t need to tell Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling to be worried about the progression of Scotland’s wing-backs.
Just tell them to press the centre-backs because the difference in quality is there and if you press with those guys and Harry Kane, it’s very difficult for Scotland to build from the back
What do they do? They go long and I don’t think it’s a problem for John Stones and Tyrone Mings to deal with long balls.
It’s not a problem for England to press high because Scotland don’t have very fast strikers who can hurt you, so I see England being very dominant.
Gareth could change Kieran Trippier for a left-footed left-back or change Sterling and Foden for Jack Grealish and Marcus Rashford but I don’t think he will.
Reach six points, top the group and in the last match against the Czechs, make people happy and give a rest to these guys and think about the knockout stage.
Looking at Harry Kane against Croatia, I think he needs to play more than to rest. He needs matches to get to his normal intensity which you lose when you don’t play football.
He needs to play, score a couple of goals and get the smile back.
This might not be the closest match but it will be a great occasion — a passionate atmosphere even though Wembley can’t be full.