The oldest rivalry in international soccer is being played on and off the field this week as England and Scotland try to recruit midfielder Elliot Anderson into their team ahead of the 2024 European Championship.
Scotland will host England on Tuesday in a friendly to mark 150 years since the British neighbors played soccer’s first national-team match. That game on Nov. 30, 1872, in Glasgow ended in a 0-0 draw.
The 20-year-old Anderson, selected by Scotland but currently out with an injury, was born in England and has a Scottish grandparent, making him eligible to play for either national team. The Newcastle midfielder has already represented both at youth level.
England coach Gareth Southgate said last week Anderson is “definitely a player we like.”
Scotland also has eyes on another Newcastle player, winger Harvey Barnes. He has a family connection and is eligible despite already playing for England.
Barnes’s only England appearance came in 2020 in a friendly. Since it wasn’t a competitive match, FIFA rules allow him to change eligibility.
“We want the best players we can possibly get if they are eligible for Scotland and they have a chance to play for us and they can improve the squad that I’ve got,” Clarke said.
Scotland ended a two-decade tournament absence by qualifying for Euro 2020 and has won five straight games in its Euro 2024 qualifying group. The streak includes a 2-0 win over Spain.
On Tuesday, Scotland can become the first team to qualify for Euro 2024 if group rivals Norway and Georgia draw their game in Oslo. It would leave Scotland 10 points clear of both teams with three games left, guaranteeing the team a top-two finish in the group standings.