Rodri speaks out on club rivalry on international stage after controversial Odegaard tackle

Will Ford
Rodri of Manchester City

Spain midfielder Rodri will see club rivalry replicated on the international stage against Scotland at Hampden Park on Tuesday night.

The Manchester City star came under the spotlight after his side’s 3-0 win over Norway on Saturday after a studs-up challenge on Arsenal’s Martin Odegaard led fans to suggest he had an ulterior motive, given their clubs’ proximity in the Premier League.

And Rodri is set to come up against further Premier League rivals on Tuesday, with Manchester United’s Scott McTominay and Aston Villa’s John McGinn likely to start for Scotland.

McTominay came off the bench to score a late double in the 3-0 Euro 2024 opening qualifier against Cyprus on Saturday after McGinn had fired Steve Clarke’s side ahead midway through the first half at the national stadium.

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On the challenge of facing McTominay and McGinn, Rodri said: “I know them very well, of course. They are fine players with a lot of physicality to go box to box.

“I think they are of massive importance to the national team and, of course, they have experience of playing big games in the Premier League – against us, for example.

“With Scott, it’s a big rivalry, of course, in the Manchester derby.

“They are good players, as we have also. We don’t focus too much on individual players, we focus more on the things they do collectively.

“But for sure, I know the players Scotland have. They have very good players, some big names and a good squad.

“We are aware of that, but we try and focus on ourselves to do a good performance against one of the best teams in the group.

“Tomorrow is going to be an important game. If we can win tomorrow we’ll have taken six points from the two best teams in the group – Scotland and Norway – so it’s going to be a very tough game.”

Rodri is also relishing the prospect of playing at Hampden Park – which will be full to its capacity of around 50,000 – for the first time.

He said: “It’s the first time I’ve played here. I spoke with some of the lads and I think it’s also the first time for them.

“There is always a great environment when you play in the UK – the passion for football is great.

“It’s going to be very emotional tomorrow and if the stadium is full, it means it will be good for the players.

“It could be (our toughest away game). To be honest, I don’t know. Let’s see tomorrow.

“But of course before everything started, you could see this is one of the toughest games in the group.

“We have to produce a good performance tomorrow if we are going to get the three points”

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