Under-21s set Wembley date
Thursday, 01 October, 2009
Stuart Pearce's men to take on Portugal at Wembley Stadium in November
England Under-21s will welcome Portugal to Wembley Stadium next month for their important Euro 2011 Group Nine Qualifier.
The match on Saturday 14 November, kick off 12.30pm, will be the third time the Under-21s have played at the new stadium in as many years, and will see Stuart Pearce’s men take on one of their major rivals for qualification for the UEFA Championship Finals in Denmark in 2011.
Tickets go on sale next week priced at £10 for adults and £5 for under-16s and will provide fans with an opportunity to see an England team at Wembley for the last time in 2009. It also begins an exciting day of Three Lions action, with Fabio Capello’s senior team facing Brazil in Doha later that afternoon.
And for Pearce it will be an exciting return to Wembley, where his team beat the same opponents 2-0 last September, as he looks to mould his new-look squad into a side capable of going one step further than their last European campaign and lifting the trophy.
“We sat down two years ago and spoke about the experience gained by giving the Under-21s team an opportunity to play here at Wembley at least once in a two year cycle,” Pearce told TheFA.com.
“And we think it’s very positive for the players’ development. It’s that experience that is the main driver for bringing the game here.
“When you look at a player like James Milner, when he stepped out for the seniors at Wembley against Slovenia last month, he’d already played here at Under-21 level, and scored. So it can prepare players for regular games here if they progress to the senior team.
“You never know how many times you’ll get to play at Wembley over your career, and quite a few players never get the opportunity to play somewhere like this, so it’s a great opportunity and a chance the players should make the most of. We hope to be well-supported again, as the crowd can always play a part and help spur the team on.”
As well as the victory over Portugal, when Milner and Gabby Agbonlahor netted the goals to clinch a play-off place for Sweden 2009, the Under-21s were involved in an action-packed 3-3 draw with Italy in the first ever game at the new stadium in March 2007.
But the game next month will be a vital qualifier for the Young Lions, with three important points up for grabs.
“Playing here last year and beating Portugal 2-0 put us in the driving seat for qualification from our group, so it’s exciting to be bringing a team back here again,” added Pearce.
“We need to take maximum points against Portugal because, alongside Greece, I believe they will be our main competition for getting out of this group.”
£10 and £5 concession (under-16s only)
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