Sir Alex Ferguson has warned against paying too much attention on Scotland’s Euro 2020 game against England, and believes a win against Czech Republic will be crucial for the Scots’ qualification hopes.
The European Championships start in 50 days time, and with Scotland competing for the first time since 1996, excitement is already building.
Steve Clarke’s side play their opening group match against the Czechs at Hampden on June 14, before facing England at Wembley four days later. The final group game is against Croatia on June 22.
Much of the attention has been on the clash with rivals England, with the eyes of the nation on the clash with the Auld Enemy. But Sir Alex believes that the full focus should be on a good start against the Czechs and having three points on the board before facing Gareth Southgate and his Premier League stars.
“The one thing I do warn against is paying too much attention to the England match,” the former Manchester United manager said.
“I think if you get a result in every one of those games then you give yourself a chance of qualifying.
“The England game looks after itself, but getting a result against Czech Republic is imperative.
“If you got a win there and a win against Croatia, that’s incredible. “
Scotland are the bottom seeds in their group and Sir Alex acknowledged that they were up against tough opposition in all three matches but believes the England game is the one that needs the least preparation.
“Croatia have been in a World Cup final and Czech Republic have always produced good players,” he said. “We know all about England anyway.
“So look after those two games and England will look after itself.
“I’m hopeful we can do well.”
The managerial great was speaking as his former boy’s club Harmony Row received an award of equipment as part of an initiative to mark the Euros. He emphasised the need for facilities to ensure that the next generation of players could achieve their potential.
“All boys’ clubs are being rewarded for their determination to do well for young people,” Sir Alex said.
“I always think about how it’s changed for young kids growing up now to be footballers.
“In my time you played in the streets, the back courts, you played on uneven bits of ground, bits of brick coming out the ground. That made you players. Playing in the street till all hours, you can’t do that now.
“I was reading that Germany had something like four times the amount of astroturf pitches as Great Britain. There is always the incentive to do better for young people and how they are going to achieve their skills and talents.”