Southgate to unleash Derby's Young Lions trio on home turf

Wednesday 12 Feb 2014
Southgate is keen to work with Derby County

Gareth Southgate takes his England Under-21s to Derby County’s iPro Stadium next month, where Wales will be the opponents in Euro qualifying.

The Under-21s have had a three-month break since their last game, which ended in a record-breaking 9-0 win against San Marino in Shrewsbury.

And there will be no shortage of home comfort for his squad in the Wales fixture, with the potentially three players in the squad coming from Steve McClaren’s Championship high-fliers.


England U21s v Wales

UEFA European Championship Qualifier
6pm, Wednesday 5 March 2014
iPro Stadium, Derby County
Live on BT Sport



Rams midfielder Will Hughes has been a regular in Southgate’s squad this season and loanees Andre Wisdom and Pat Bamford have also featured.

But it is Hughes who has been the talk of the town this season and Southgate admits he has been in contact with McClaren over how he is going to be used.

“Will is a young player who we’re all very excited about, but we’re conscious, as Steve will be, that he’s playing a lot of football,” said Southgate, who once played for England at Derby when they faced Mexico there in 2001.

"I’ve spoken with Steve, and Nigel [Clough] before him, about how much we expose him because he’s playing out of his age group as well.

"We want to manage that carefully and ensure the player’s development is central, so that’s one of the reasons that Will hasn’t played every game with us.

Will Hughes in action for England Under-21s against San Marino.

Hughes has been a regular for England and Derby this season


"That’s why we need to be careful, because in the end, we’re all trying to develop a player who could go on and play for England.

"But he’s a player that we think a lot of and we want to nurture that in the right way so it’s about trying to find a balance."

The match is also an opportunity for Wisdom to come back into the reckoning for Southgate, after missing the previous four games due to suspension.

Wisdom is on loan with Derby from Liverpool and was named as Under-21s captain at the start of the campaign.

England Under-21s defender and captain Andre Wisdom.

Wisdom captained the Under-21s earlier this season


But Southgate has warned the 20-year-old that he now faces a real battle to get back in the team.

"He’s missed our last four games, but I’ve been to see him several times and when you look in those positions, we’re very strong," he explained.

"John Stones and Michael Keane have done very well in there, along with Carl Jenkinson too so it’s very difficult to even pick a squad at the moment.

"But it’s great that these lads are getting the experience and playing in important matches because you want to see them playing under pressure which they will be doing with Derby, who I think will finish in the top six this season."

Bamford is the latest player to have joined McClaren’s squad for the second half of the season, signing on loan from Chelsea.

Patrick Bamford in action for England Under-21s.

Bamford made his Under-21s debut in November


He had caught Southgate’s eye with his form during a spell with MK Dons in the first half of the season, which resulted in a call-up for November’s game with San Marino.

"I’d seen him [Bamford] play for our U19s, with Chelsea’s junior teams  and with MK Dons, but he came into our squad late last time so it was good to see him making that step up and being able to cope with it,” he added.

"He’s a good finisher, with good movement but as with all the players in this group though, they are a work in progress and they can only continue that learning by playing with and against better players.”

You can buy tickets for the game with Wales at the iPro Stadium now. Tickets for the game will go on sale from 9am on Tuesday 3 December 2013, priced at just £10 for Adults and £5 for U18s. 

These can be purchased in person from the Digonex Ticket Office, by calling 0871 472 1884 (option 1) or by visiting

By Nicholas Veevers Content Manager - FA Owned Channels