The Auld Enemy split within Norwich City’s dressing room

Posted by Paddy Davitt

Jamie McDonald/Getty ImagesRobert Snodgrass is one of the three Norwich City Scotland internationals who gets a crack at England on Wednesday.

Norwich City's Glasgow-born midfielder Robert Snodgrass summed up the essence of what it means for Scotland to play England when he insisted there is no such thing as a friendly.

Snodgrass is one of three Canaries in Gordon Strachan's squad for Wednesday's renewal of the oldest international fixture in the world when the Scots and an estimated 20,000-strong Tartan Army descend on Wembley.

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Club mate and Norwich City number one John Ruddy is behind enemy lines for Roy Hodgson's England before the quartet -- Russell Martin and Steven Whittaker complete the set -- reunite to try and plot Everton's downfall in the Premier League opener this weekend. City's assistant manager Colin Calderwood is a link to the past of this famous fixture. Calderwood was an unused substitute for the Scots the last time these bitter rivals met back in 1999. Don Hutchison's goal earned victory on the night, but it was England who progressed on aggregate to the European Championship finals the following summer.

Snodgrass and his modern-day contemporaries have had 14 years to stew over that sense of grievance. The 25-year-old admitted his abiding memory of the fixture is the sour vision of Paul Gascoigne's sublime lift over the stranded Colin Hendry before lashing a volley past Andy Goram that lit up the countries' Euro 1996 clash.

Snodgrass is right in his assessment. All the ingredients suggest a ferocious game lies ahead. Points and qualification may not be at stake this time, but national pride and domestic bragging rights are a potent currency for some of the best footballers in the British Isles when they return to their respective club environments.

Both Snodgrass and Martin conceded in recent days the banter within City's squad and particularly the barbs flying in Ruddy's direction had gathered pace as the build-up to this neighbourly tussle grew ever closer. Strachan's collective headed south buoyed by a surprise 1-0 World Cup qualifying win in Croatia earlier this summer. Snodgrass was the match-winner, but it was Martin who emerged as a genuine international performer at centre-back alongside Blackburn's Grant Hanley. The Brighton-bred defender could count himself unfortunate if Strachan denies him his first-ever Wembley experience as a player. Martin spoke revealingly after City's final pre-season friendly win over Panathinaikos about the prospect of fulfilling a boyhood dream. For that to come in such a prestigious fixture surely adds to the sense of occasion.

The only loser in this coupling to coincide with the FA's 150th anniversary celebrations could be club boss Chris Hughton. The City manager is not alone in questioning the timing of the match, coming just three days before the Premier League begins. Norwich's Wembley quartet would all be considered serious options to start against the Toffees. Hughton knows who he wants to unleash at Carrow Road this weekend, but his planning and preparations are on hold. Hughton must sit and endure. The rest of us can enjoy a long-overdue reminder of why Snodgrass is right to call a fixture dating back to 1872 more than just a meaningless friendly.


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