We caught up with Tord Grip to discuss Sutton, Thompson and Euro 2004 preparations.
TheFA.com Exclusive: We caught up with England assistant coach Tord Grip to talk about Chris Sutton and Alan Thompson as well as to see how preparations are going for Euro 2004.
There has been plenty of speculation regarding the Celtic duo and it seems that if their current form continues, they both stand a good chance of making the squad for the next England match away to Portugal in February.
Tord Grip and Sven-Goran Eriksson have both been impressed with the two players' performances this season and Tord was at Celtic Park on Saturday to see them in action in the Old Firm game against Rangers.
"Both Chris Sutton and Alan Thompson have had a very good season so far," Tord says. "Also they have been playing Champions League and UEFA Cup football with Celtic for two years now. But this season in particular they have played very well."
Unlike Thompson, Sutton has played for the Three Lions before. Then a Blackburn player, he came on as a substitute in a Wembley friendly with Cameroon back in November 1997.
"Sutton is a very versatile player," Tord continued. "He can play upfront, he can play behind two strikers, he can play in central midfield, he can play as a defensive midfielder and he can even play as a centre-back.
"He can play everywhere - in the recent game that I went to he started by playing behind the Celtic front two and then in the second half he dropped very deep and covered the defence very well."
Much has been made in recent years of England's lack of balance in midfield due to a shortage of a left-footed players. Lots of players have tried to operate on that side but none has been able to hold a regular place in the first team. The emergence of Thompson as a contender is thus an important development for the England coaching set-up.
"Of course Alan Thompson is very interesting because he is playing on the left side and is technically very impressive," says Tord.
"I have seen Thompson operate in all sorts of systems for Celtic including playing as a left wing-back and on the left of a midfield diamond as well as in a more orthodox wide left position.
"Therefore he is a very useful player to us because he has played in a similar organisation to that we have used for the past few games."
The impact of the former Premiership stars was enough to warrant another look and this morning Tord and Sven met to decide which Celtic games they should watch between now and naming the squad for the Portugal friendly.
"Sven and I discussed what matches we should see them in because we decided that we want to see them in action closer to the game against Portugal in February.
"One of us will definately go to their next League game against Hearts and after that come games against Aberdeen away, Kilmarnock at home and Dunfermline Athletic away so we will have a look at one or two of those games as well."
With the possibility of two players not previously chosen by Sven and Tord breaking in to the England squad, does Tord believe that there is a chance for other players to come through and challenge for a place in the squad?
"We are always looking as we have so many good young players such as Scott Parker, Glen Johnson and James Milner.
"But of course if we have all the available players fit then it is not easy to break in to the squad. For instance, now we have Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes back, the midfield is looking very strong."
After the Portugal match, England travel to Gothenburg to take on Tord's home country Sweden in what will be a proud moment for both him and for Sven.
"It will be very nice to go to Sweden with the England team. We have of course played them twice, once in Manchester and again at the World Cup, but to play them in Gothenburg will be good.
"I just hope the weather will be good because it is a little bit early in the year - it is still very cold and in late March there could be some snow!"