International soccer's oldest rivalry will be renewed Wednesday when Scotland and England – or the “Auld Enemy,” as Scots refer to them – meet at Wembley Stadium in London, England.
A member of Scotland’s 29-man squad, there’s a chance Vancouver Whitecaps FC alternate captain Kenny Miller could play a part in the much-anticipated friendly, which is being hosted as part of The Football Association’s 150th anniversary celebrations.
Wednesday's match between Scotland and England is set to kickoff at 12 p.m. PT and can be seen live on Sportsnet World. Miller will join the ‘Caps in Colorado and is expected to be available for selection Saturday against the Rapids.
The 33-year-old striker has scored 17 goals in 68 appearances for the Scottish national team, but he’s not once had the opportunity to play against the Auld Enemy.
At this point in his career, Miller said he has nothing left to prove at the international level. He’s just looking forward to the game.
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“Obviously, for me and some of the older lads on the squad we might never get an opportunity to play in one of these games again,” said Miller, who scored his seventh goal of the season Saturday against San Jose. “So it’s going to be one to enjoy.”
“I want to play some part in it at any point,” he added. “That’d be great.”
Since playing soccer’s first ever international match in 1872, the two countries have met a grand total of 110 times. England holds the edge with a 45W-41L-24D record, but Scotland won the most recent meeting – a 1-0 win at Old Wembley in the second leg of a qualification playoff for the 2000 European Championship.
As a member of that Scotland squad, Whitecaps FC assistant coach Paul Ritchie knows all about what it means to play against England. Despite losing 2-1 on aggregate, the former Scottish international said being involved in those matches was “a great experience” and he expects it will be no different for Miller on Wednesday.
“It’s massive,” said Ritchie, who started the first leg of the qualification playoff. “This is probably one of the biggest games in world football. It’s a fantastic honour to represent your country, but against England at Wembley for England’s celebration of the year … it will be excellent for Kenny.”
Although it’s been nearly 15 years since Scotland and England last met in international competition, the fixture used to be a big part of the Scottish and British soccer landscape, according to Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie. The two countries met on an annual basis up until 1989.
“Growing up in Scotland, the game against England has always been a big talking point and a big rivalry,” Rennie told whitecapsfc.com. “I think for any player, especially from Scotland, it’s certainly something they would look forward to and want to be a part of and be excited about. I think Kenny will be no different.”
A native of Edingburgh, Scotland, Miller said he has been watching the Scotland-England fixtures for as long as he can remember. His memories of the game are mostly bad, he quipped, though the former Rangers and Celtics striker was quick to point out that Don Hutchison scored the winner for Scotland in the latest edition of the cross-border battle.
“It’s a fantastic occasion,” he said. “History will show that the games have been very, very close and very hard fought and have been played like a local derby. We’re looking forward to it and we’re looking to make a little bit of history, ourselves and maybe go and get one.”
They’re calling Wednesday’s match a “friendly,” but if you ask anyone involved, it’s anything but.
“There’s nothing to play for, but there are no friendlies between Scotland and England,” Ritchie said. “It’s as big as Rangers and Celtic, if not bigger.”
Goalkeepers: Matt Gilks (Blackpool), David Marshall (Cardiff City), Allan McGregor (Hull City)
Defenders: Gordon Greer (Brighton and Hove Albion), Steven Hammell (Motherwell), Grant Hanley (Blackburn Rovers), Alan Hutton (Aston Villa), Russell Martin (Norwich City), Charlie Mulgrew (Celtic), Andy Webster (Unattached), Steven Whittaker (Norwich City)
Midfielders: Charlie Adam (Stoke City), Barry Bannan (Aston Villa), George Boyd (Hull City), Liam Bridcutt (Brighton and Hove Albion), Chris Burke (Birmingham City), Scott Brown (Celtic), Craig Conway (Cardiff City), Graham Dorrans (West Bromwich Albion), James Forrest (Celtic), Gary Mackay-Steven (Dundee United), Shaun Maloney (Wigan Athletic), James McArthur (Wigan Athletic), James Morrison (West Bromwich Albion), Robert Snodgrass (Norwich City)
Strikers: Leigh Griffiths (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Steven Naismith (Everton), Kenny Miller (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Jordan Rhodes (Blackburn Rovers)
Goalkeepers: Ben Foster (West Bromwich Albion), Joe Hart (Manchester City), John Ruddy (Norwich City)
Defenders: Leighton Baines (Everton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur)
Midfielders: Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Tom Cleverley (Manchester United), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal), James Milner (Manchester City), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Ashley Young (Manchester United), Wilfried Zaha (Manchester United)
Strikers: Jermain Defoe (Tottenham Hotspur), Rickie Lambert (Southampton), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Danny Welbeck (Manchester United)