Auld enemies combine for Coral’s awesome Anglo-Scottish XI
To celebrate the calendar year of international football ending with a battle between eternal rivals Scotland and England, Coral’s football experts have assembled an all-star XI that takes into account the fantastic form of these two Home Nations.
Who made our team? Read on and see…
Goalkeeper: Fraser Forster
With Three Lions number one Joe Hart rested, who better to fill his boots than former Celtic stopper Forster? Now at high-flying Premier League side Southampton, he has shown he can keep clean sheets in an elite division. David Marshall is unlucky to miss out, though. England are 8/5 chances to shut Scotland out.
Right back: Nathaniel Clyne
After an impressive Three Lions debut against Slovenia, Saints full back Clyne gets the nod and may have filled a problem position for Hodgson. The Scots are depleted in this berth, with injuries ruling out both Phil Bardsley and Alan Hutton, who also ply their trade in the Premier League.
Centre back: Gary Cahill
England centre half Cahill is the best available to his country. Time and again he gets ageing partner Phil Jagielka out of jail. Chelsea’s dogged defender is an aerial presence in both boxes, meaning he edges out Scottish counterpart Russell Martin for inclusion.
Centre back: Christophe Berra
Following Grant Hanley’s questionable conduct in the all-Celtic clash with the Republic of Ireland, we want to see Ipswich Town set piece threat Berra brought back into Scotland’s rearguard. His Blackburn Rovers counterpart could’ve been sent off twice last time out, while Berra has four league goals under his belt already.
Left back: Andrew Robertson
With Ashley Cole retired and Leighton Baines injured, the left back berth goes to Hull City’s rising star Robertson. He got Scotland thinking forward time and again against the Irish, and he will pose considerable problems for Hodgson’s team if he retains the diamond formation and leaves Robertson to his own devices.
Right wing: Steven Naismith
Everton attacker Naismith is playing with passion and purpose for his country. With his confidence restored by a combination of club manager Roberto Martinez and national boss Gordon Strachan, he will pose a real danger to England. Back Naismith to net anytime in Glasgow at 2/1.
Central midfield: Scott Brown
Scotland skipper Brown is a smooth operator in the engine room. There was a sweet symmetry and perfect balance in this area last time out, when Celtic clubmate Charlie Mulgrew played alongside him. England should be envious of this energetic performer, who is 8/1 to score anytime against them.
Central midfield: Jack Wilshere
Given the official man of the match award for the Three Lions’ last outing against Slovenia, there is more to come from unusual anchorman Wilshere. Deployed as a deep-lying playmaker, he has been curiously effective, despite his strengths lying further forward for Arsenal. He edges out Mulgrew and the jaded Jordan Henderson to line up beside Brown in our Anglo-Scottish engine room.
Left wing: Shaun Maloney
Although he was born in Malaysia, Wigan Athletic’s creative force Maloney is Scottish through-and-through. Bursting on the scene as a teenage talent at Celtic, he has cultivated quite the career for himself. Maloney, who masterminded the clever short corner routines and netted a sumptuous curler last time out, has two in two, and must be considered to continue this rich form by scoring again at 7/2.
Support striker: Wayne Rooney
Three Lions talisman Rooney has three in his last three caps, so is just as in-form as the Scotland frontline ahead of this fixture. Recent proficiency with dead balls means Strachan’s side cannot afford to concede penalties or give away free kicks. Rooney is even-money in the anytime market, and 4/1 to open the scoring.
Centre forward: Danny Welbeck
England and Arsenal frontman Welbeck is the joint top scorer in Euro 2016 qualifying with five in four matches. Finally getting the chance to play in his preferred position, he has repaid Hodgson. After a couple of braces in his last four outings, he is a 7/1 shot for two goals or more in Glasgow. Welbeck has also netted against Scotland before.