England v Scotland preview: Harry Kane and Scott Brown in contention
By Patrick Surlis
Last Updated: 11/11/16 9:12pm
Harry Kane is in contention to lead the line for England against Scotland when the two nations meet in their World Cup Qualifier at Wembley on Friday night.
The Spurs forward returned from seven weeks out with an ankle injury to play 73 minutes in the north London derby draw on Sunday and could feature alongside Wayne Rooney, who will captain the side.
Interim boss Gareth Southgate is set to manage England for the third time, following a victory over Malta and a goalless draw in Slovenia, with Tuesday's friendly against Spain his final match before the Football Association make a long-term decision on his future.
Scotland sit fourth from six teams in World Cup qualifying Group F, having picked up four points from their opening three matches, while England top the group on seven points.
Gordon Strachan's side suffered a 3-0 defeat away to Slovakia in their previous fixture, but the Scotland boss is expected to welcome Scott Brown back following the midfielder's decision to reverse his international retirement.
Southgate confirmed England have no fitness concerns heading into the match, with Rooney retaining the captaincy.
The England boss does have a decision to make on Kane after the Tottenham striker came through unscathed against Arsenal.
Steven Fletcher is a doubt for the visitors after injuring his knee, but he is Scotland's only worry.
Celtic midfielder Brown, who captained his country under Strachan before retiring from internationals, is likely to recover from a dead leg suffered on Saturday.
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This will be the third time that these two sides have met in an international match this century, with England winning the previous two; 3-2 in August 2013 and 3-1 in November 2014.
The last time that England and Scotland met in a competitive fixture was back in November 1999 at Wembley. Scotland prevailed 1-0 thanks to a goal from Don Hutchison, but lost the Euro 2000 play-off tie 2-1 on aggregate.
This will be only the third time that these two sides have met in a World Cup Qualifier - the previous two were both won by England (1950 and 1954).
Rooney scored two goals from just three shots in England's 3-1 win over Scotland in November 2014 at Celtic Park.
The Three Lions have kept a clean sheet in each of their last three matches - they haven't kept four in a row since October 2015.
Five of England's last seven international wins have come from a goal scored in the 83rd minute or later.
England are currently unbeaten in 32 international qualifiers (World Cup and Euros combined); winning 24 and drawing eight.
The last 10 goals scored by England in qualification matches have all come from different players.
Scotland have won just two of their last eight qualification games (World Cup and Euros combined) and these two wins have come against Gibraltar and Malta (D3 L3).
Strachan's side have failed to score in three of their last four international matches played outside of Scotland.
Only Germany (71.9 per cent) and Spain (71.8 per cent) have averaged more possession than England (71.2 per cent) in the 2018 World Cup qualification stages so far.
England also have the second best passing accuracy in qualification (89.1 per cent), behind only Germany (89.6 per cent).
Everyone is saying England aren't very good but they are good, they're just not a great side.
Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling are the two that concern me the most. Sterling is a player who can really open us up with his pace.
I don't think a draw does Scotland much good, whereas a win gets us back in the mix. I'd rather get beat 3-1 than lose 1-0 defending, although it's easy for me to say that.
As underdogs we will fight and scrap but please have an attacking method as well.
I do expect England to win. I'm a realist and in my mind I think England will prevail by at least two goals.
Charlie predicts: 3-1 and Sterling to score first (45/1 with Sky Bet)
Watch highlights of England v Scotland on Sky Sports 1 HD at 10pm on Friday.