Gareth Southgate says he’s enjoying working alongside new England manager Sam Allardyce, as the season’s first international week fast approaches.
The England Under-21 head coach saw two games alongside Allardyce during the Premier League’s opening fixtures last weekend, as they both contemplate naming their squads for next month's games with Norway and Slovakia respectively.
And having also seen the EFL resume the week before, Southgate has welcomed the return of the new season and the chance to assess selections with the Three Lions boss.
England v Norway
UEFA European U21 Championship
Group 9 Qualifier
5.45pm, Tuesday 6 September 2016
Community Stadium, Colchester
£10 adults & £5 concessions
Call 0845 4379089
Click here to buy tickets
"There were lots of players playing in games last week that were worth seeing for both of us and with Sammy Lee at a couple of games, they’re good opportunities to discuss the games and players generally when you’re at matches together," revealed Southgate, who watched Manchester City’s win over Sunderland on Saturday before taking in Liverpool’s victory at Arsenal the following day.
"There’s loads of questions that you want to ask when you’re with the senior coaches and for all of the coaches of our national teams at St. George’s Park, that’s an opportunity to learn.
"I’ve both played and managed against Sam and his teams previously, so I know exactly what he’s going to bring and I know from speaking to players and staff who have worked with him previously that they’ve all really enjoyed the experience.
"I think that’s something which everyone at St. George’s and beyond is really looking forward to."
Southgate and his team get back into Euro Qualifying action on Tuesday 6 September when they face group rivals Norway in Colchester.
After tasting success with his squad by winning the Toulon Tournament earlier in the summer, the former Middlesbrough boss now wants to build on that by sealing qualification for the Euro Finals in Poland next year.
They’re currently top of the table with just three games to play, meaning the clash with third-placed Norway is a crucial match and competition for places in Southgate's U21 squad is high with players returning from injury since last term.
And with Aidy Boothroyd’s U20s also in action next summer at the World Cup in South Korea, Southgate is hoping his side can quickly clinch their qualification and set up a busy few weeks for England teams at the end of this season.
"People have got to challenge me to push themselves into the squad which did so well in Toulon and I think there’s a real challenge for the people in the squad to stay in there and that’s always healthy on the back of victories," he added.
"We’re conscious that there’s an U21 Finals and an U20 World Cup next summer, for which they’ve already qualified.
"We want to make sure that we do the same, our priority at the moment is to qualify for the Euro Finals, otherwise we don’t have anything to worry about."
Tickets for the game with Norway are on sale now, priced at just £10 for adults and £5 for concessions. You can purchase tickets for the game by clicking here or calling 0845 437 9089.
Watch the celebrations as England Under-21s won the Toulon Tournament