Hart relishing Scotland clash

13 August 2013 03:31

Joe Hart was only two when England's annual meeting with Scotland was scrapped - but the intense rivalry between international football's oldest combatants means there is no need to hype up Wednesday's Wembley friendly.

England have met Scotland only three times since the ill-fated Rous Cup concept was abandoned five years after the demise of the Home International Championships.

Paul Gascoigne's memorable effort secured a Three Lions victory at Euro 96, with both away teams prevailing in a Euro 2000 play-off that England just scraped through on aggregate.

In more recent years, Germany and Argentina have become the team England must beat above all others, with Scotland sliding slowly down the FIFA rankings.

But on Wednesday, a game first played in 1872, will have its 111th gathering. And Hart is relishing the prospect.

Speaking on behalf of official England partners William Hill, Hart said: "It is going to be exciting. You know how everyone is going to be on the outside, which always makes the game more interesting.

"Scotland are a team we want to beat. You can't get away from that fact. It is good to have rivalry. I enjoy rivalry. And there is definitely rivalry between England and Scotland."

It has been suggested by plenty of people the middle of August is not the greatest time for such a fixture.

England's players are just days away from their opening Premier League games, and whilst the Scottish top flight is now into its third week, given only six members of Gordon Strachan's squad ply their trade north of the border, the visitors are likely to be inconvenienced almost as much.

Not that Hart views the situation that way. After all, the days are long gone when the first aim of a pre-season regime was to recover fitness lost during idle summer days spent resting and abandoning a sportsman's nutritional regime.

Source: PA