England No 1 Jordan Pickford fires ‘hostile’ warning to Scotland

Ukraine 1-1 England – The Verdict

Jordan Pickford has warned Scotland that England players will “thrive” on whatever atmosphere is thrown at them at Hampden Park tomorrow (Tuesday) night. After the raw emotion of the Wroclaw Stadium on Saturday, the Three Lions are ready for another huge mental test as their oldest rivals celebrate 150 years with a so-called “friendly”.

But Pickford said: “You want that competition if you haven’t got qualifiers, you want to be in matches you can learn from and get something out of, going into hostile crowd, different football experiences, things you should thrive off.

“It will be a tough game. Hampden Park, you know what their fans are like, it is something we want to thrive on, we want to go there and have the experience and win the game.”

Pickford himself is from the North East, so he has already been feeling the intensity with the Scottish border just 70 miles away. He added: “I definitely get it. I am from Sunderland. All the lads get it. Our focus first was against Ukraine, we will recover well and get ready for Tuesday.”

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That said, the closest the Everton goalkeeper has got to a Scotland clash was when he was part of the St George’s Park set-up around the infamous 2-2 draw in 2017 when it took Harry Kane’s late goal to save the day for England.

“When I was in the Under-21s, the 2-2 at Hampden Park the lads thought that was the best atmosphere they have played in,” he recalled. “Scotland are in good form, top of their group in the Euros, it is a friendly but it will be competitive against a side in good form.”

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Scotland manager Steve Clarke, who has overseen a nine-match unbeaten run including eight wins and a defeat of Spain, has warned: “The game for us will be serious. In some friendlies you can relax a little bit and we can be a little bit more relaxed after the win in Cyprus. But we want to win.

“We’re playing England, they’ll want to beat us and we want to beat them. It should be a decent night. Listen, we have players who are playing at a good level.

“We should go into this game with confidence, why not? We haven’t lost a competitive group stage game for a long time now. With the current momentum we’ve got, I think we can take that into the game.”

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