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Euro 2020: Scotland Preview with Alan Hutton

“If you qualify, you never know what can happen.” - Alan Hutton talks to Freebets.com ahead of Euro 2020

Euro 2020 may have been delayed but it promises to be well worth the wait.

The Euros have been unpredictable in recent years and as Scotland return to the fold they will surely take inspiration from Wales’ exploits at Euro 2016.

But how far can Steve Clarke’s men go?

Ahead of Euro 2020, former Scotland and Tottenham defender Alan Hutton sat down with Freebets.com for an exclusive Q&A to discuss Scotland’s chances…

Alan, what will the mood be in the Scotland camp now ahead of the first major international tournament for all the players?

“I think there is a lot of excitement. That is the one word I would use to describe it. They’ve done the hard work to qualify and now they have the chance to go out there and enjoy themselves.”

Which players need to step up for Scotland to have a good tournament?

“I think the left-hand side is really strong especially the relationship between Andy Robertson and Kieran Tierney.

They have got such an attacking threat but at the same time they do the hard work defensively. There are two world class left backs in the side so it would be such a shame to leave one out.

Steve Clarke has found a formula which works, the 3-4-1-2, and that suits the team best. That way you can really be on the front foot and attack the other team.

I expect them to provide a lot of chances for the likes of John McGinn and Che Adams, who wasn’t in the qualifying rounds has made himself available for the tournament and I think he offers something different in terms of his pace up front. He will be a handful for a lot of teams.”

John McGinn and Andrew Robertson will be key to Scotland’s chances in Euro 2020.

How important is the game against England to the fans and players?

“It is a huge game.

As soon as you see England is involved, they are the main target. When I was growing up, I dreamed about playing against England in an international.

It will be a difficult game.

They will probably play a little more defensive with 5 at the back but we will try and contain them and play on the counter.

It will have the same feel of a big derby game.

The lack of fans in the stadium could help England so it is so important Scotland start well so that the home fans stay quiet. Despite the lack of fans, I still think it will be a very fierce game.”

Do Scotland need to focus on the game against Czech Republic to have a chance of qualifying?

“Yes, I think so. That is the standout game for me for the three points.

We beat them home and away in the nations league, but we know they have got quality. It’s a game we have to go and attack with maybe two up front.”

 

Who is likely to be the surprise package in the Scottish team?

“I think it could be Lyndon Dykes.

He can offer that focal point.

You always need someone to hold the ball up. He puts his head in where it hurts. He has always done well for Scotland when you play defensively against the better nations you need that out ball which he provides.

Another to watch is Jack Hendry.

He went and played in Belgium on loan from Celtic and he has had an outstanding season. I think K.V. Oostende triggered the clause to make him a permanent signing.

For me that was an area on the right-hand side that I unsure about and I think he’s done enough to get the starting spot.”

What would be a successful tournament for Scotland?

“If they can get out of the group stages, they will become legends. I think that is what they will be aiming for.

They will look at the first game as winnable, the England game will take care of itself and against Croatia you just never know.

I can personally see us getting out the group. I don’t want to be too optimistic but if they can get do that it will be amazing, and they’ll do the country proud.”

Scotland beat Czech Republic twice in the Nations League and another win will be vital at Euro 2020.

Who is your favourite to win the tournament?

“Initially I thought it was hard to see past Belgium but when I watched France in their friendly the other day, I thought wow. So, I am edging more towards them.

Italy are also one to watch though and I think a lot of people are sleeping on them just because their players aren’t household names. They won all their qualifying games and battered the Czech Republic in the warm-up game.

The hype on England is absolutely massive.

Some of the attacking players are world class and they are expected to play very well. They will need to counterattack against the bigger nations, but they haven’t done that since 1966 so I don’t think it is their year.”

What will be the bigger achievement, beating England or making it out the group stages?

“Making it out the group definitely.

I would take a loss to England to make it through.

If you qualify, you never know what can happen and we have seen that with Wales at Euro 2016. They lost to England in the group stage but ended up having an incredible tournament that the players and fans will remember forever.”

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