England's Young Lions will face Swedes in Walsall on 5 February
England v Sweden
An Under-21 International
Banks’s Stadium, Walsall FC
7.30pm, Tuesday 5 February 2013
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Walsall’s Banks’s Stadium will play host to the first England Under-21s fixture of 2013 when they meet Sweden next month.
In an historic year for The Football Association, celebrating its 150th Anniversary
, Stuart Pearce’s Young Lions will be looking to impress with Euro 2013
on the horizon this summer.
Last year couldn’t have gone any better for Pearce’s side, who won all six games without conceding a goal as they secured their place inthe Finals in Israel
“2012 was a good year for us,” said Pearce. “Defensively we were very strong not conceding a goal, while we created a lot of chances.
“The squad evolved too, so we saw a lot of players during the year illustrating the depth we have.
“We hope the game in Walsall will give us the chance to start this year where we left off in November as we build towards Israel.”
The Finals in June will see an unrivalled fourth successive appearance in the eight-team tournament for the Under-21s.
Coach Pearce recalls his previous meeting with next month’s opponents at the 2009 Finals
, hosted by the Swedes.
Having reached the last four of the competition, England lined up against Sweden in Gothenburg. And they quickly silenced the 16,000 home fans taking a 3-0 lead into the break.
But Sweden responded emphatically, levelling matters in the second half to take the game all the way to penalties. This time the Three Lions came out on top to reach the Final
“It was a great game, an excellent advert for Under-21s football,” he said.
“It had a bit of everything and went right the way to penalties. It was a really exciting night, but thankfully we went through.
“The tournament in Sweden was an fantastic experience for all involved,” added Pearce.
“We have a great relationship with the Swedes and we're all really looking forward to the game as we build for the summer.
“I expect Sweden will come with a younger side, and for us we'll probably have one or two players who have done extremely well over the winter period.
“We need to start the year well and take a solid run of form forward as we build for June and beyond.”
And Pearce is also looking forward to going back to Walsall and remembers a visit there in The FA Cup 12 years ago.
“When I was at West Ham, people will probably remember the Di Canio goal at Old Trafford in The FA Cup, but in the Third Round we had to go to Walsall,” continued the former left-back.
“We’d already played them home and away in the League Cup earlier that season, winning by the odd goal.
“So it was no surprise that The FA Cup tie was tight, too, with us narrowly winning 3-2.”
He added: “It’s not a ground we’ve played at with the Under-21s before, so will be a first for the club.
“Hopefully the Walsall fans can come along and get behind us and enjoy a good night of international football.”
The match will also be screened live on ESPN.
Fans can get tickets to watch England’s young stars for the terrific price of just £10 for adults, £5 for children and a family ticket (two adults and two children) is only £20.
Tickets can be purchased by calling 01922 651416,
buy online from Walsall FC
or email firstname.lastname@example.org