England Under-21s to face USA U23s at Preston North End

Tuesday 28 Jul 2015
Gareth Southgate's team will face USA's U23s side, as they prepare for the Rio Olympics
England Under-21s will kick-start their new campaign at Preston North End in September, when they face the USA’s U23 side.

Gareth Southgate’s squad will be preparing for their first Euro Qualifier with Norway the following week, with the fixture at Deepdale taking place on Thursday 3 September.

England U21s v USA U23s

International Match
7.45pm, Thursday 3 September 2015
Deepdale, Preston North End
Live on BT Sport

And they can expect a tough encounter with a USA squad who have their sights set on next summer’s Olympic Games in Rio.

For the Three Lions, it is their first game after this summer’s trip to the Euro Finals in Czech Republic ended with a group stage exit and a chance to re-focus on the forthcoming term.

"It will be a good test for us as this will be a USA team which is a little bit older and wiser and who will be making up their Olympic team for Rio next year," revealed head coach Southgate.

"We played the States at U20 level last season and we’ve managed to have a few fixtures against them in other age groups which have all been really good fixtures.

"They’ve got a really good programme now and we’re trying to play teams from outside of Europe throughout our age groups, so we’re expecting a hard game and one which will help us prepare for the trip to Norway a few days later."

Qualification for the next Euro U21 Championship, which will be held in Poland in the summer of 2017, begins for England with their first Group 9 game in Norway on Monday 7 September.

Gareth Southgate trains the squad, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek watching on.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek could be in Southgate's squad for the new Euro campaign this season

A number of the players who were involved in the last Euro campaign can play again this time around, with the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Calum Chambers and Eric Dier all available for selection.

And with players from last season’s U20s squad – who enjoyed a successful year under Aidy Boothroyd – also eligible for this Euro campaign, Southgate believes the familiarity within the squad will only help during preparations when the group meet up again.

"There will be some continuity as there are several players from the last group that are still young enough to play," added the former Crystal Palace and Aston Villa defender.

"So they have the understanding of how we want to play and, of course, it’s now an opportunity for new players to come in and show us what they can do."

Tickets for the game at Deepdale are priced at just £10 for adults and £5 for children, with a family ticket (two adults and two children) costing £20 and group bookings of 15+ working out at £5 for adults and £1 for children.

Season ticket holders at Deepdale can also claim half price tickets and concessions for U18s, over 65s and students (on production of valid ID) are £5. Call 0844 856 1966 for details or e-mail: ticketoffice@pne.com

By Nicholas Veevers