Heading north of the border

There are calls from Glasgow for Celtic’s Scott Sinclair to be called up for England. Over the years plenty of Scots have made it by playing in England from Dennis Law & Kenny Dalglish to Colin Hendry & Gary McAllister but how have Englishmen faired north of Hadrian’s Wall.

Terry Butcher (Rangers 1986-90)

How’d he end up in Scotland?

After Mexico ’86 England’s premier Centre half was looking for a move from fading Ipswich to a big club, Butcher opted for Glasgow Rangers. With English clubs banned from Europe Butcher was soon joined by England teammates Gary Stevens, Chris Woods & Trevor Steven.


How’d he get on?

Brilliantly- Butcher captained the Gers to 3 league titles and 2 Scottish Cups, although a broken leg in 1988 lead to a proposed move to Manchester United falling through. He stayed on at Ibrox until 1990.

How did it impact his England career?

He stayed in the England first 11 throughout his time in Glasgow, culminating at Italia ’90 after which he retired from international football. A few months later he left Rangers for a player-manager role back in England with Coventry. But his nomadic management career saw him take stints at Hibs, Inverness Caledonian Thistle & Motherwell. He also worked as a coach in the Scottish national team set up leading to an interesting touchline encounter with a certain Diego Maradona.

Mark Hateley (Rangers 1990-95)

How’d he end up in Scotland?

After making his name at Portsmouth the tall marksman went on a European odyssey starting with a fitful 3 year stay at AC Milan before moving to Monaco. Hateley was part of the England squad for Mexico 86 and Euro 88, but was then dropped following England’s shambolic Euro campaign.

After failing to make the Italia 90 squad Hateley decided to leave the riviera for Ibrox.

How’d he do?

Pretty well. He initially struggled to break up the strike partnership of Ally McCoist & Mo Johnston, scoring just 10 league goals in his first season.

However he added 80 in all competition in the next 3 campaigns as Rangers came close to winning the European Cup. Hateley’s aerial presence dovetailed perfectly with the pace of arch poacher McCoist.

Did it get him recalled?

Very briefly- with long ball loving Graham Taylor managing England many expected a recall, particularly when the goals started flying in. But Taylor preferred Arsenal target man Alan Smith and promising youngster Alan Shearer. Taylor eventually relented to pressure and picked Hateley by then 31 for a Euro 92 friendly, but he didn’t score and never played for England again.



Mark Hateley, Park Rangers FC.

Paul Gascoigne (Rangers 1995-98)

How’d he end up in Scotland?

After a stop/ start 3 years in Italy, Lazio grew frustrated with Gazza meanwhile his place with England was threatened by Southampton’s goal of the month specialist Matt Le Tissier. Needing to move on, Walter Smith persuaded Gazza to join Rangers in the summer of 1995.

How’d he do?

Brilliant- Gazza settled well with Rangers quickly finding fitness and form, bagging 19 goals in his debut season and winning both the SPFA & SFW footballer of the year awards. He added a further 17 from midfield in his second year.

How did it impact his England career

It saved his Euro 96 dream, in fairness old pal Terry Venables was always likely to pick him but his improved fitness extinguished any doubt. The bitter irony for Scots came at Wembley that summer: In the auld enemy group game of Euro ’96. Gazza left Colin Hendry (the premier leagues best defender) on his arse to score his famous goal to seal a 2-0 England win.


However Gascoigne’s career started to unravel shortly after the tournament as revelations of domestic abuse and his drink problem sent him spiralling. He left Rangers in 1998 but reunited with Walter Smith 2 years later at Everton, without their former success.

Rodney Wallace (Rangers 1998-2001)

How’d he end up in Scotland?

After emerging at Southampton the most gifted of the 3 Wallace brothers joined Leeds in 1991 and spent 7 years at Elland Road- winning a league title, bagging the 1994 goal of the season against Tottenham (check it out on Youtube) and scoring 53 goals. In the summer of 1998 he joined Dick Advocaat’s Rangers on a Bosman.

How’d he do?

Excellent- Wallace bagged 27 goals in his first season, most memorably the winner against Celtic in the Cup Final. He won 5 out of 6 major honours available in Scotland and scored 56 goals in 2 years.

Did he get the England call?

No- There were calls from Glasgow for a call up but his ratio of 1 goal in 2 for Rangers compared to 1 in 4 for Leeds lead most to conclude he was a good player in a poor league. Wallace arrived towards the end of Rangers dominant period in Scotland and no major English talent has played for the Gers since.

Archive Folder: Rangers
Rod Wallace sent sprawling by Alan Comce, Rangers v Dundee Utd 1999

Alan Thompson (Celtic 2000-07)

How’d he end up in Scotland?

The left footed Left winger (a rare English commodity in the early 2000s) left Bolton for Celtic in 2000. There had been several English players at Celtic prior to Thompson (most notably Allan Stubbs and Paul Elliott) but never an England cap won from Celtic Park.

How’d he do?

Steady- Thompson always had a cultured left foot and a decent free kick in his locker. He started slowly at Celtic but by 2004 he was bang in form and making double figures for goal scoring, and England manager Sven took note.

Did he get the England call?

Once- With England devoid of out and left wings calls for Thompson became louder as Sven moved from Nick Barmby to Kieron Dyer to Trevor Sinclair (none of whom were left footed) . The need for a winger was lessened by the emergence of Ashley Cole at left back but 4 years on from joining The Bhoys Thompson became the first active Celtic player to represent England. It was momentous for player and club but not repeated with Sven unconvinced Thompson was up to international football.

Fraser Forster (Celtic 2009-14)

How’d he end up in Scotland?

The giant keeper spent his early career bouncing around the Championship on loan when Gordon Strachan signed him on an initial loan and then permanent deal.

How’d he do?

Very well- Forster quickly established himself as number 1 as Strachan steadily built a credible Champions League side. And in the Champions League he enhanced his reputation by holding back Guardiola’s Barca. Domestically he won 3 league titles and to Scottish Cups.

Did he get an England call?


Yes- Forster was first called into the squad in late 2012 and made his debut the following year, making the 2014 World Cup squad as an unused sub.

But Forster couldn’t force his way into the first 11 and with Celtic nosediving in Europe Forster moved to Southampton for £10 million.


Scott Sinclair (Celtic 2016- present)

How’d he end up in Scotland?

After failing to cut it at Chelsea and then Man City the young winger was left with a choice between Tim Sherwood’s Aston Villa and Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic. He made the right choice.

How’s he doing?

The first English footballer of the year in Scotland since Gazza! Sinclair has been a revelation at Celtic bagging 21 league goals last term and starting this one on in similar style.

Any sign of an England call?

Not yet- thus far Gareth Southgate’s preferred wingers are Sterling, Oxlaide-Chamberlain and Lingard.

But The Ox is still settling in a Liverpool and Lingard isn’t getting a game at United. Behind them Michael Antonio is injured, Theo Walcott’s out of form and it’s too soon for youngsters Lookman, Sancho and Onomah.

At 28 it’s hard to argue Sinclair is an emerging talent and memories of his poor stint in Manchester persist but qualifiers against poor opposition are a good time to pick an in form player who’s a bit older than the normal new cap. It worked for Rickie Lambert and whilst history shows Scotland isn’t the best place to forge an England career if you make the top grade in Scottish football as Sinclair has you normally get a cap.

Ultimately the question for the England manager is how much of Sinclair’s form is down to his improvement under the tutelage of Rodgers and how much is down to playing in a lesser league

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