Rangers manager Mark Warburton has revealed that he passionately backed England as a supporter at Euro 96 – and was devastated that football did not quite “come home”.
Warburton did not miss a match, including the 2-1 group stage win over Scotland, and says he can’t wait for the 11 November clash between the auld enemies at Wembley. He said: “I went to every England game, right through to the final, and loved it. I was devastated when Gazza missed by a stud’s length in the semi against Germany. I had six tickets for the final – football nearly came home.
“The England-Scotland game, it was a great fixture with a magnificent atmosphere and it will be the same again this month. It means everything – of course it does. The expectation on the England players is so high. The expectation on the FA and the coaching staff is so high. They are desperate.”
Warburton, right, also dismissed the idea that Scotland are always hungrier in the fixture, pointing out that in the last competitive matches between the sides – the Euro 2000 play-off – England were equally as passionate. He said: “Look back at the 1999 game. Look at what it meant to Paul Scholes, look what it meant to the England players. All 22 players in the squad, it means everything to them, they are well aware of their responsibility.
“So, to pull on an international jersey – every Scotland player will know exactly what is expected of them by the public quite rightly, and every England player will be fully aware of the implications.
“It is in the blood, it is there in the Scotland-England games. If I hear Jim Stewart mention 1967 one more time I may fall out with him. I have offered him a draw but he wouldn’t take it.
“I have given one of my staff members a one-goal start, and he said ‘OK, I will do a tenner!’ That is all I am saying.”
Warburton has also tipped Lee Wallace to shine on the big stage if he comes in at left back. He said: “Playing at Wembley won’t faze him. He’s a mature player and he will enjoy it.
“I’m delighted for Lee. He fully deserves his call-up. I’ve no doubts Lee Wallace is ready to go down to Wembley and start. His application, his approach, his commitment and his fitness make him an outstanding captain for Rangers.”