James McFadden has called on Scotland to play Billy Gilmour against England on Friday to get their Euro 2020 campaign back on track after losing to the Czech Republic in the opening game.
Back in the big tournament for the first time in 23 years, Scotland’s return to the big stage didn’t go as planned, Patrik Schick scored a high header before scoring an outstanding second close to halfway.
The result leaves Steve Clarke struggling to qualify for Group D – but former Scottish international McFadden has called on his country’s manager to trust young Chelsea player Gilmour for that crucial clash with England.
The 20-year-old remained on the bench due to a defeat at Hampden Park on Monday, but McFadden believes Gilmour has shown the quality and mentality to step into the highly charged atmosphere of the England-Scotland match and deliver.
“The thirty minutes Billy Gilmour produced against Luxembourg, I would be in it,” McFadden told Sky Sports Football Euro Podcast.
‘It brings something different. Even though he’s young and inexperienced, you see him looking, talking.’ Where’s the space? Not just for me, but for the next guy? ‘ I wouldn’t be surprised if he played.
“His debut for Chelsea was against Liverpool, against Fabinho, the Champions League winner, the Premier League winner and he was the man of the match. He followed that with a performance against Everton.
“He has serious talent with an incredible temperament. If he played, he would accept it with his step.
“Young players energize the players who are there. They inspire the players next to them, either to feel that kind of protection or to elevate you and elevate the game to different levels.
“[He has] no fear, no trepidation. I wouldn’t be surprised if it started. “
No matter which players are chosen, McFadden says it is necessary for Scotland to work together at Wembley to frustrate their hosts and not allow them room for a rush of English players.
The guests will enter as outsiders, but there could be an opportunity to surprise in the counterattack, he says.
“The English public does not rate Scotland at all,” he said. “But [the English players] will have respect for certain players in our team. But in general, they will not have them. They will expect us to step aside.
“I’m always optimistic, but we have to defend better than that. We have to defend better.
“It’s hard to find weakness [in England]. If anything else, I think the game plan, instead of trying to take advantage of a certain area, is a game plan to frustrate them, sit down, absorb pressure, take breaks, make them exaggerate with their bodies forward.
“You watch their threat, Harry Kane falls and Raheem Sterling takes advantage of the space at his own pace. But if we don’t leave the space, they have to find another way.
“We have to be solid and compact, and England have to over-engage the players forward so we can achieve them defensively.”
Mistakes and missed chances against the Czech Republic
Looking back on the defeat by the Czech Republic, McFadden said several defensive misses and a missed opportunity by Lyndon Dykes proved costly in an otherwise close match.
“It comes down to, [firstly] we didn’t defend one particular center shot well. We didn’t stop the cross shot, we didn’t put enough pressure on Schick to stop him from scoring with his head, a fantastic header from his point of view. And then we are not placed correctly when we are in the attack, we do not see the danger of a counter-attack, “McFadden said.
“Jack Hendry is stepping forward, and the decision to shoot is wrong. All right. But you have to look at the position of Grant Hanley, the position of Liam Cooper and David Marshall.
“They have to think,‘ what will happen if he loses the ball? Where is the danger? ‘No,’ I wonder if he will score a goal, what will he do next? ‘ The danger was in the guy who created the moment of pure class.
“It’s hard to talk about it [Schick’s second goal] because if it was a game you weren’t involved in emotionally, you’d be talking about it for years.
“Then a chance [Dykes] in the second half, he has to score it. I’m going to prove that Dykes is on the team because his versatility plays and improves the team, and you don’t necessarily have to rate him.
“But when you’re a striker and you get a chance at eight yards, you have to score a goal. Those are the moments.”
After 23 years of waiting, Scotland The first game of the big international tournament ended in defeat, and Steve Clarke fell 2-0 to Czech Republic in Hampden Park.
We get a reaction to the result and performance from a former Scottish international James McFadden and renowned editor of Tartan Army magazine Iain Emerson, who joined a Sky Sports News reporter Charles Paterson after the game for the latest Sky Sports Football Euro Podcast.
There are debates and debates about the chances coming and going for Scotland, mistakes behind, the impact of Kieran Tierney’s “world-class” injury and whether Scotland can return in a stunning match with England at Wembley on Friday.
And finally … was Patrick Schick’s half-shot better than Zinedine Zidane’s volley at the same stadium? Or McFadden’s goal in Paris ?!