The Carling Nations Cup will survive and thrive without England, who are riddled with problems including their gaffe-prone coach Fabio Capello, according to former Scotland midfielder Craig Burley.
The inaugural tournament which will involve Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Wales was launched in Dublin yesterday. What is in effect a 'Celtic Cup' will be played in a league format with six matches between the four teams, the first two taking place at the new Aviva Stadium in Dublin on 8 and 9 February, 2011 and the remaining four during the week commencing 23 May.
England snubbed the competition, but Burley said: "England are not too big for this competition, but it's their decision at the moment not to enter. If they had come back from South Africa with the World Cup then they would have been able to stick two fingers up at everyone, but they didn't. They are not Spain or Brazil and they have their own problems at the moment, not least with their manager who can't even seem to answer the most innocuous of questions in a press conference."
Burley, who played in the 1998 World Cup in France, the last time Scotland qualified for a major tournament, fears for Scotland's chances of reaching the finals of Euro 2012, having watched Craig Levein's under-strength team lose 3-0 to Sweden in Wednesday friendly in Stockholm. "It wasn't unsurprising," he said. "The big worry is the concession of simple goals. If you make those sort of mistakes then you won't qualify. That's what's been happening and I would hate for that to continue under Craig Levein, who I tipped to get the job. But it's a job you take at your peril and it can make or break you as a manager."