'I suppose this is the first time ever' - City legend prepares for England's World Cup opener
PUBLISHED: 06:07 18 June 2018 | UPDATED: 08:50 18 June 2018
© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2009
Bryan Gunn admitted he could be a World Cup first when England kick-off their Russia 2018 campaign against Tunisia this evening.
The Norwich City legend got to sample the greatest football show on earth for himself, as part of Scotland’s Italia 90 squad.
Now director of talent recruitment at Triple S Sports, the former goalkeeper will be hoping one man in particular shines for the three lions as Gareth Southgate’s England face Tunisia in Volgograd (7pm).
“There seems a relaxed mood around the place – that’s Gareth using his experiences as an international player and trying to work closely with the media,” said former City player and boss Gunn.
“As an agency, we have got Harry Maguire in the squad and we see all the press that’s coming out on the back of it all, and it’s all very positive – but I’m sure everyone is aware that could turn negative should they get beaten by Tunisia.
“I’d imagine they are all well drilled and their analysis on Tunisia will be very detailed. The standard the England players can all reach if they play as a team, should be more than enough to see them through that game.
“I suppose this is the first time a Scotsman will be supporting England in the World Cup ever – so all the best to them, because I want to see Harry get as far through the tournament with England as he possibly can.
“Having a son called Angus Fraser James Gunn that plays for England Under-21s, I suppose I’ve not helped my cause in any way there either.”
Gunn knows first-hand what is at stake come the opening fixture of any World Cup, given his Italia 90 experiences with Scotland.
“Our shock was getting beaten in the first game against Costa Rica – one of the biggest shocks in Scottish football,” said Gunn.
“You’ve got to win your first game in tournament football – and certainly not lose it. If you win, you’ve cracked half the nut. You need something behind that, but for us to leave it where we needed to get something against Brazil made it even more difficult.
“We had a good chance of going through after beating Sweden in our second game, but had we done something against Costa Rica we’d have definitely been through to the latter stages.”
Gunn added: “England should get out of the group. Then it’s about whoever they get next.”
The switching from club allegiances to international alliances has not always been a smooth transition for national sides – and England have suffered with that in the past.
However, Gunn is hopeful Southgate’s squad have the basis of some extremely useful working relationships in Russia.
“You look at the squads and there will be friendships forged for many years, even through youth teams,” said Gunn.
“We had a number of players at Scotland who had come through all those youth levels together – four to six of them. So you have natural friendships there from the past, and that’s part of the camaraderie – just the knowing of people.”
• For the latest Norwich City news and opinion follow Michael Bailey on the following channels…