We’re predicting Chris Martin, Ryan Fraser and Darren Fletcher to be in the Scotland starting XI to face England tonight.
The Scots welcome the Auld Enemy to Hampden this evening hoping to get a victory that would breathe life into their World Cup qualifying campaign.
If they did it, they’d cut the gap to England to three points and banish all memory of the disappointing 1-1 draw with Lithuania earlier in qualifying.
And suddenly the country could dream about a trip to Russia for the next World Cup.
But who will Strachan trust to go and get a much-needed result at home against a formidable Three Lions team?
Here’s the team we’re predicting to start the game and why:
It’s simple – he’s one of Scotland’s best players and there’s no one else to play at right back. He showed against Slovenia he’s more than up to the task of turning out there and we expect Strachan – who has praised him consistently since that game – to start the Celtic man there again.
Darren Fletcher has never really performed for Scotland in the same way he’s performed for Manchester United or West Brom – much to the disappointment of fans around the country. But he’s familiar with playing against English players, particularly those at the top level, and we’ve got a sneaky feeling that Strachan will go with his experience in midfield alongside Scott Brown and Stuart Armstrong.
This might be the most surprising inclusion given he’s the only member of the squad without an international cap, but Ryan Fraser’s second half of the season should make him very appealing to Strachan. Bournemouth finished in an impressive ninth place in the Premier League and Fraser had a big impact on that – coming into the team regularly in December and staying there until the end of the campaign. If he’d been fit, we’d have seen him in the Slovenia game so now that he’s ready to play, we expect him to be preferred to James Forrest on the right wing. Scotland need raw pace and Fraser offers that and more.
If it was up to us, we’d have Leigh Griffiths in the team, but we fully expect Strachan to reward Chris Martin with a starting spot after his winning goal against Slovenia in the previous qualifier. Significantly, Strachan bemoaned losing headed goals in the Wembley fixture and I’d expect him to go with a bigger, more physical team this time around and Martin suits that approach. Griffiths should start given his brilliant end to the season with Celtic, but we know he’s not always the first choice for the manager and Martin’s recent previous should see him get the nod.