Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

It Isn't Going to Be a Walkover

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

It Isn't Going to Be a Walkover

Article excerpt

Byline: GARETH SOUTHGATE

CRICKET scores don't tend to happen too often in international football these days and, after watching a video of Macedonia's game against Turkey at the weekend, I don't feel it is realistic to expect a goal feast at St Mary's tonight.

We haven't enjoyed one of those nights in England since we played Luxembourg in September 1999 when we won 6-0, while Macedonia looked unlucky to lose 2-1 to Turkey.

We have to win tonight, though. It's a great opportunity to get another three points on the board and make the perfect start to the qualifying competition.

We certainly don't want to be dropping points at this stage, which would then allow Turkey the luxury of being able to do exactly that when they meet us and still stay in the hunt.

The squad have been together now for more than a week and although it's nowhere near like the World Cup, time is just beginning to hang a little heavy.

Whether it's better to play these double headers or one-off matches is a difficult one.

You don't want to run the risk of going into a second game off the back of a bad result but, at the same time, it's great to have six points up there for all to see, early on.

We all have our different ways of keeping occupied when we have free time.

Some of the lads went to the local cinema yesterday. I don't know what they saw but I know they weren't too impressed.

Some of the others went shopping in the mall which adjoins our hotel but they were soon waylaid and came back. During their time out, though, they did pop into a bookshop and it caused surprise today when the reading habits of some of the squad were made known.

I know, for example, that David James is interested in a wide range of topics. He was apparently interested in a book about criminal psychology, while someone else apparently enquired about a book on the Moors Murders. I wouldn't mind betting that was him as well.

Personally, I caught up on some sleep. When you have a young family, as I have, one of the benefits of going away is you can get a couple of nights' uninterrupted rest- a real luxury. …

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