Terry Butcher urges England players to ‘leave club badge at the door’ ahead of Scotland clash at Wembley
- Credit: PA
Ipswich Town and England legend Terry Butcher has addressed the Three Lions players ahead of their World Cup qualifying clash with Scotland at Wembley tonight, urging them to ‘leave their club badge at the door’.
Butcher was capped 77 times by his country, seven of them as captain, and featured at three major tournaments. The iconic image of the centre-back playing on with a bandaged bloodied head during a vital World Cup qualifier in Sweden, in 1989, sums up what playing for his country meant to him.
The patriotic 57-year-old pulled no punches about England’s limp exit from Euro 2016 this summer, slamming the players for a lack of leadership and ‘bulldog spirit’ following defeat to minnows Iceland.
Butcher was invited by interim boss Gareth Southgate to speak to the players at St George’s Park earlier this week.
“I just told them ‘make sure you beat Scotland’ because you won’t stop hearing about it if you don’t,” said the Bawdsey resident.
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“I had a good chat with Wayne Rooney and a few of the other lads, although it was a bit weird because half of them weren’t even born when I was playing!
“I’ve said in a few interviews this week that watching England feels like purgatory and that it looks as though the players go out there in straight jackets. They need to go out there and play with a bit of freedom and belief and confidence.”
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Butcher played in six games against Scotland between 1982 and 1989. Games against the ‘Auld Enemy’ were regular in those days, with the British Home Championship always contested at the end of every season.
It was often a big Ipswich Town affair. Butcher lined up alongside club-mates Mick Mills and Paul Mariner in 1982, while fellow Blues players George Burley and Alan Brazil were in Jock Stein’s line-up.
“You always left your club badge at the door when you went away with England – that’s how it should be,” said Butcher.
“Playing Scotland was a big deal and I was proud to be on the winning side on four of the six occasions I faced them.
“Everyone told me about the ‘Hampden Roar’, but I never heard it when we played there. Maybe in ‘85 when we lost 1-0, but the other three times I went there as an England player we kept them quiet.
“I was a Rangers player on my home turf when we played them in ‘87 and ‘89, but as soon as I stepped on the pitch I got jeered. I wasn’t expecting that, but it fired me up even more.”
After England beat Scotland in a two-legged European Championship play-off qualifier in 1999 there was a near 14-year gap before the fixture was contested again. The Three Lions won friendlies in 2013 and 2014.
“The quality of the teams may not be what they once were, but this is still a special fixture,” said Butcher. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder and I can’t wait to see England play Scotland in a competitive game.”