Gareth glad to be back as U21s prepare for Wales game

Monday 03 Mar 2014
Southgate during training at St. George's Park on Monday

Gareth Southgate is hoping a return to the training pitch for his England Under-21 squad can lead to an instant connection again on Wednesday night.

The Three Lions are at St. George’s Park to prepare for their next Euro qualifier with Wales at Derby County’s iPro Stadium, over three months since their last game in November.

And after meeting up on Sunday evening, head coach Southgate is just pleased to have his group back together as they look to build on a decent start to their Euro qualifying campaign which saw a record-breaking 9-0 scoreline against San Marino in their last game.


England U21s v Wales U21s

UEFA Euro Qualifier
6pm, Wednesday 5 March 2014
iPro Stadium, Derby County



"It’s great to get everybody together again, that’s the important part," admitted Southgate.

"We felt we had a real momentum in September and October, with some real performances and some good habits put in place.

"So over the next couple of days, we’re trying to revisit that."

England go into the game in pole position in their qualifying group and Wednesday’s game is a chance to solidify that.

But Southgate admits that he needs to show consideration for the players in his squad in terms of time on the training pitch in the build-up, with many of them having played a lot of games at club level in recent weeks.

"We’ve got boys at different stages of recovery from games over the weekend," he explained.

"So we had a group who didn’t train at all, a group who trained a little bit and a group who could do a lot more - that’s the nature of it at this time of the season.

Wilf Zaha looks to beat Tom Carroll and Pat Bamford in training.

Wilf Zaha in training on Monday morning


"We’ve got to balance between work on the pitch and messages at other times through the camp and keeping energy for Wednesday - as well as making sure that we’ve done enough.

"So it’s a balance for us, not just as coaches but for the sport science and medical team. Some of the boys have had a lot of football and we’ve got make sure that recovery is correct for them."

With the game taking place just a few miles away in Derby, the lack of travel involved is something which also comes as a bonus in terms of the planning process.

And Southgate is also hoping for a big crowd to support his squad at the iPro Stadium in what is the final home game of the current campaign.

Watch highlights of Monday's training


"I don’t think there’s any need to train at the stadium, it’s somewhere we’ve worked before and most of the boys have played there," he added.

"We don’t have to worry about travelling anywhere else on the day, so we have a couple of days here where the guys who have had plenty of matches can get a couple of days rest as well as the work that we’re doing.

"We’re hoping for a good crowd and if we can deliver the sort of performance that we have in our previous home matches then hopefully they can enjoy it."

Watch the full interview with Gareth in the video player above.

Tickets for the game are priced at £10 for adults and £5 for concessions and can be purchased from the Digonex Ticket Office, by calling 0871 472 1884 (option 1) or by visiting

By Nicholas Veevers Content Manager - FA Owned Channels St. George's Park