ANYONE WHO turned up at Wembley on Wednesday night after full- time would have struggled to work out just who were the winners and who were the losers. It was the Scotland fans who were celebrating, while England's just seemed relieved. Maybe that is the difference between the two countries: the expectation level.
If we are under-achievers, then England has become guilty of building up its team too high, especially as some people just want to knock the side back down again.
The country has a lot of talent, there's no question of that. But the problem is that the players are not transferring their club form to the international stage. People always seem to blame the coach as soon as there is the slightest problem, but it is the players who have to make the adjustment.
The talent is there, you see it every week in the Premiership: exciting young players such as David Beckham or Michael Owen, but what is never there with England is continuity. Maybe there are too many for Kevin Keegan to choose from, but continuity is something Scotland have had in recent years, if not in terms of injuries, then at least having the same faces in the squad.
England have used so many players in the European Championship qualifiers that no one is really given a chance - if they have an average performance, then they are chopped and changes are made. The country has to get behind the manager and the players over the next six months because the last thing you need in the run-up to Euro 2000 is more criticism. We suffered some in Scotland after Saturday's 2-0 defeat at Hampden: it does not build confidence and I was glad that it only surfaces rarely for Scotland rather than being around every match, as is the case with England.
The biggest asset England have is Keegan. I love it every time he speaks, because he talks with an honesty and passion but he never talks negatively. I played under Liam Brady at Celtic and Jean Tigana at Monaco, who were both great players who understood my role, especially as a midfielder. But Keegan …