Club England MD Adrian Bevington outlines importance of Italy date.
Italy v England
8pm, Wednesday 15 August 2012
Stade De Suisse, Berne, Switzerland
England get their new season underway next week, as preparations for the FIFA 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign begin with a match against Italy in the neutral venue of Berne.
It will be Manager Roy Hodgson’s first opportunity to take charge since the European Championship campaign was brought to an end, ironically against Italy, earlier in the summer.
The squad for the match in Switzerland will be named by Hodgson on Friday and whilst the game takes place just days before the start of the new Premier League campaign, Club England Managing Director Adrian Bevington has spoken of the importance that this fixture holds for the season ahead.
"We have the game in Berne and then it's straight into the qualifying programme after that with Moldova and Ukraine and then the double-header with San Marino and Poland in October, so we have four games this year before we enter the bulk of the fixtures in 2013,” explained Bevington.
"So it's an important game and it's important to stress that there's something in the region of 38 games taking place on that date so most of the major teams in world football will be in action.
"There is always this conjecture over the date of this fixture every year, and I can see it from the clubs' point of view. Their thoughts, undoubtedly, are looking forward to the start of the season, so this fixture comes right in the middle of it.
"Ultimately, whether England play or not, most of the clubs in the Premier League are going to be without their players who are representing the other countries who play that night.
"So, whilst I understand their position, from our side of things we don't want to put ourselves at a disadvantage by not playing.
“If we didn't take that game, we'd have one less preparation game than our rivals going into the qualifying games, so it's important that if they're all playing, then so should we.”
Bevington also feels the game gives Hodgson a chance to assess his options before that first qualifier against Ukraine at Wembley on 11 September.
"It gives Roy an opportunity to look at a few new things and perhaps experiment with a few new faces,” he added.
"I'm sure Roy will take the opportunity to look at one or two new faces in the Italy game and along the way and it's encouraging that he's someone who is keen to speak to the players.”