Former Scotland boss Gordon Strachan on why he'd drop Celtic ace for England clash

Gordon Strachan reckons Jack Hendry should drop out of the Scotland defence for this Friday’s match against England if Kieran Tierney is passed fit.

Former Scotland manager Gordon Strachan. Picture: SNS
Former Scotland manager Gordon Strachan. Picture: SNS

The former Scotland boss insists it would be a significant boost to Steve Clarke’s side to have three players familiar with the excellence of Tottenham superstar Harry Kane when the match gets underway at Wembley this Friday night.

Hendry started the 2-0 defeat to the Czech Republic and was partially to blame for the second goal after attempting a shot from 30 yards that was blocked and ended up in the back of the Scotland net two touches later thanks to Patrik Schick’s incredible strike.

The centre-back has been in excellent form for Oostende in Belgium this past season on loan from Celtic, forcing himself back into the international set-up after a period in the wilderness.

But Strachan believes he’ll be the odd man out if Tierney recovers from a “niggle” which kept him out of Monday’s match at Hampden.

He told Betfair: “Whether they will change the shape remains to be seen, or will they swap out Liam Cooper, or move big Liam across. As long as [Grant] Hanley and Tierney are there, that is good pace. Hanley has played against Kane a few times, so that will help. It would be good to play the three players who have played against Kane.

"Nothing against Jack Hendry, but Hanley, Cooper and Tierney have all faced Kane in the Premier League and they know the ins and outs of their games.”

Strachan also reflected on Scotland’s last two meetings with England when he was national team coach in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

Scotland were beaten 3-0 at Wembley in the first encounter but responded with two Leigh Griffiths free-kicks late in the return match at Hampden Park, only to be robbed of victory by an injury-time strike from Kane.

Despite suffering a heavy defeat in one match and coming seconds from winning the other, Strachan insists his side performed better in the Wembley contest and that Clarke’s men will have to ensure they don’t let a lack of concentration undermine a similar showing on Friday night.

He said: “Our best performance [against England] we lost 3-0, but every coach that phoned me after said we couldn’t have done any more. It’s strange being a football manager. That’s the one time I felt for the players. In the 2-2 game, everyone was saying it was a great performance, but it wasn’t.

“Three on target and three goals, it’s ridiculous stats. You can be happy with a 3-0 loss performance and unhappy with a 2-2 performance. I just hope Steve [Clarke] gets some of the emotion of his team scoring a goal against England.

“It mostly comes down to concentration and ability at times as opposed to luck. If we said luck, everyone would say I'm making excuses. Take luck out of it - unless the ball is rolling in the net and a dog runs out of the crowd to stop it! I might take my own dog to Wembley with me, as a supporter.”

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