KEOWN TALKS TACTICS: England must beware of Scotland's role-swapping

KEOWN TALKS TACTICS: England must beware of Scotland’s role-swapping between Kieran Tierney and Andy Robertson that could leave Three Lions baffled… while Gareth Southgate needs better balance down the right-hand side at Wembley

  • England will play old rivals Scotland in a huge Euro 2020 clash on Friday night  
  • Scotland need to ensure they involve their talented midfielders at Wembley 
  • Gareth Southgate’s side are well set up but need better balance on the right 
  • Kieran Tierney and Andy Robertson can swap roles in bid to confuse England 

Scotland have two top-class left backs in their squad and their manager wants them both in his team.

The way Steve Clarke does that is by using Kieran Tierney on the left of the back three and Andy Robertson at left wing-back.

The news that Tierney should be fit to start is massive for Scotland. Before this tournament began, they drew 2-2 with Holland and Tierney and Robertson could be seen rotating in that warm-up match. 

Having both Kieran Tierney (left) and Andy Robertson (right) in the Scotland team can cause huge problems for England in their Euro 2020 clash at Wembley Stadium on Friday night

England must be wary of the pair’s ability to create chances as they welcome Scotland 

Sometimes it would be the man from Arsenal flying forward down the left, and sometimes it would be the man from Liverpool.

Holland couldn’t handle that in the opening periods, and Tierney and Robertson have the power to cause England problems.

The statistics say Robertson created six chances from that flank against the Czechs, emphasising that he is one of the best left backs in Europe.


I was really surprised at the extent to which goalkeeper David Marshall constantly kicked the ball long as Scotland began their Euro 2020 campaign with a 2-0 defeat by the Czech Republic.

Every goal-kick was being launched into orbit, and there was almost no attempt at playing out from the back by the Scots.

That meant the midfield was being completely bypassed. Players such as John McGinn, Scott McTominay and Stuart Armstrong — all of them comfortable in possession for their clubs — were seeing the ball fly over their heads.

Scotland changed things for the second half, at least. They looked better because of the tweak, until that 50-yard wonder strike by Patrik Schick killed them.

Scotland have talented midfielders but they were all bypassed in the loss to Czech Republic 

Scotland managed 19 shots overall but just four were on target. They need to be more clinical against England if they are to revive their Euro 2020 campaign, and Clarke needs to get his selection right.

The manager stayed loyal to Ryan Christie — the striker who scored against Serbia in the play-off final which got Scotland to their first major tournament in 23 years — in that opener against the Czechs.

But this time, Che Adams must start alongside Lyndon Dykes. Adams is mobile and England’s defenders will not want to get too tight to him, otherwise he’ll roll them.

I expect to see Dykes putting up a physical battle with John Stones and especially Tyrone Mings, who he might target as the relatively inexperienced defender in England’s back line.

Lyndon Dykes (left) should start the game at Wembley due to his ability to threaten aerially 


I’ve not seen England open a tournament with a better performance than the one we saw against Croatia. There was a good balance to the left-hand side of the pitch.

Raheem Sterling and Mason Mount’s movement was outstanding and Kieran Trippier was acting as a server, passing the ball on to those in front of him.

But Gareth Southgate will have spent some time this week looking at the right-hand side. Kyle Walker needed better options when he was on the ball and would have liked to be flying forward more, like he does for Manchester City.

Kyle Walker lacked options going forward when he was on the ball against Croatia in game one

That improved as the game grew and the winning goal originated from that side of the pitch. Walker had possession and Phil Foden forced Croatia’s left back Josko Gvardiol into following him by dropping towards the ball.

Walker then played a perfectly timed pass inside of Gvardiol and into the all-action Kalvin Phillips, who assisted Sterling.

Whether it’s Walker or Reece James who starts on the right against Scotland, or Trippier or Luke Shaw or Ben Chilwell on the left, striking a balance down those sides is crucial for England.


Scotland won’t be daunted by the fact they’re facing so many Premier League players in England shirts. Most of them play in that division themselves — eight of Scotland’s expected starting 11 are from Premier League clubs.

Scotland’s midfield three, of Aston Villa’s McGinn, Manchester United’s McTominay and Southampton’s Armstrong, are used to facing such stellar opposition.

This Scottish side need to show desire but also much more composure than they did against the Czechs.

Many Scotland players are used to facing some of England’s top players in the Premier League

Tierney (pictured) and Robertson can swap roles during the Wembley game to baffle England

If the players thought the pressure of that opening game at Hampden Park was high, then this second game is on another level.

They’re facing England at Wembley and there is a long history behind this match. 

This was the first-ever international to take place, a 0-0 draw way back in 1872. Everything is teed up nicely for this latest encounter.

Kieran Tierney, in his position on the left-side of a back three against Holland, plays left-wing back Andy Robertson in with a through ball. But England must beware the role-swapping at Wembley as it’s Tierney who flies down the line in the Dutch game and Robertson who plays the pass. 

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