Alan Hansen and Graeme Souness were distinguished players for Scotland. Now they have gone into print to have their say on England and their chances if, as presumed, they qualify for the 2014 World Cup.
Should England beat Poland at Wembley on Tuesday night, they can prepare for Brazil next summer.
Hansen says qualification is a must.
He says: “Failure is unthinkable. It would be catastrophic not to be in Rio next summer. Every strand of English football would be hurt by not being there.
“Even if they perform badly when they get there, it is preferable to not being there at all. For a player, the World Cup is the ultimate.
“All the talk of ‘giving youth a chance’ ignores a key fact. What youth? Where are the outstanding youngsters ready and waiting to replace Steven Gerrard or Frank Lamped? Keep searching because there are none who are good enough to take the place of those two.
“There is no golden generation patiently waiting in the aisles.”
While Hansen was a calm, cool and collected character at the heart of the Liverpool and Scotland defence, Souness was a henchman. Hard as they come on the pitch, he now uses his acerbic tongue to call a spade a shovel.
Souness has doubts about several aspects of the England team, including the potency of Wayne Rooney against the better teams, and just how solid the defence is when faced with dangerous strikers.
Ahead of the crucial match against Poland at Wembley, he said: “I expect England to close out qualification on Tuesday with a win against a Poland side with nothing to play for.
“Yet one interesting aspect will be observing how Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka cope with Robert Lewandowski. I suspect they are two good Premier League defenders who will be found out at the highest level.”
Souness can see some promise for England as an attacking force.
He says: “It is the wide players who could transform England. If Andros Townsend was to carry forward Friday night’s form and play like that consistently for England against the better teams, they would carry a hell of a threat, especially if Theo Walcott could do the same on the other flank.
“England would be transformed into a very different team if those two could be a constant threat with the ridiculous pace they have.”
Hansen sums up how much of a turning point this is for the England set up.
He says: “For the sake of English football, Hodgson’s side must deliver. “